R(Nur & Abdulahi) v Birmingham City Council EWHC 3526 (Admin)
Mrs Nur lived with her three adult daughters in private rented accommodation. Her daughter, Zakiya suffers from cerebral palsy and has learning difficulties.
Mrs Nur applied to Birmingham City Council under their allocations scheme seeking a specially adapted property that would be suitable for Zakiya’s needs. Mrs Nur found herself in a ‘catch 22’ situation. She was bidding for properties which met her daughter’s disability needs but, whenever she did so, she found that her bid was ‘skipped’ because the property was a house and the council officers considered, on their reading of their own allocations policy, that they were obliged to give priority to a family with children under the age of 18 even if none of the children were disabled.
The Council’s 2018 Allocation Scheme stated:
…preference for houses with two or more bedrooms will be allocated to families with dependent children…
Properties with adaptations will be allocated to persons with a physical or sensory disability.
Mrs Nur instructed CLP who lodged a judicial review challenging both the way Mrs Nur’s application had been dealt with by the Council and a discrimination claim regarding the Council’s Allocation Scheme in general. Shortly before the hearing on 19 December 2020 Mrs Nur was finally offered and accepted a suitable property.
David Lock QC (sitting as a deputy high court judge) concluded that the Council had misunderstood the terms of its own Allocations Scheme and had acted unlawfully in the way it was implemented in Mrs Nur’s case. He adjourned the discrimination challenge to the Scheme itself. He was also highly critical of the way the Council dealt with the litigation. For a full analysis of the case see the Nearly Legal website: https://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2020/3526.html&query=(R(Nur))+AND+(v)+AND+(Birmingham)+AND+(City)+AND+(Council)
The hearing of the discrimination claim is now listed for hearing on 19 April 2021.
Holly Sherratt and Michael McIlvaney of CLP were solicitors for Mrs Nur and her barrister was Zia Nabi of Doughty Street Chambers.