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Government defeats High Court challenge to ending of ‘Everyone In’ initiative

A High Court judge has dismissed a judicial review challenge over the Government’s decision to end the ‘Everyone In’ initiative that was launched to get rough sleepers off the streets during the pandemic.

The claimant in ZLL, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government [2022] EWHC 85 came to the UK in 2002 and his visa expired in 2004. His immigration status put him in the category NRPF (no recourse to public funds) and he had spent many years rough sleeping.

Between March 2020 and April 2021, he was accommodated in a series of homeless shelters operated by various charities. In April 2021 he approached Camden Council for accommodation, relying on the 'Everyone In' initiative.

Camden accepted that it had a discretion to accommodate him but said it had decided not to exercise that discretion in his case, because he was NRPF and not within the "most vulnerable and at risk" group of rough sleepers. A separate claim for judicial review challenges that decision and has been stayed pending resolution of this claim.

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Two grounds for judicial review were put forward:

  1. Breach of a public law duty by adopting an unpublished position in non-conformity with published Government policy; and
  2. Breach of a public law duty in not conducting prior consultation with Shelter.

Dismissing the challenge, Mr Justice Fordham concluded: “The Claimant's representatives have brought before the judicial review Court, for detailed examination and scrutiny, a sequence of events relating to a Government rough sleepers initiative with the resonant and inclusive title of ‘Everyone In’.

“Insofar as there are open questions about how that aspect of Government policy was expressed and communicated, how it ebbed and flowed, how it was understood, and how NGOs were engaged along the way, those questions belong in the arenas of public opinion and of politics.

“The role of the judicial review Court, in the exercise of its supervisory jurisdiction, is to apply carefully delineated objective legal standards, to secure accountability of public authorities to law. The objective legal standards invoked in this case were not breached. The claim for judicial review fails.”

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