High Court grants permission in judicial review challenging ‘bedroom tax’ impact on Sanctuary Scheme homes

The High Court has ordered that a judicial review challenge to the ‘bedroom tax’ and its impact upon women living in ‘Sanctuary Scheme’ homes should proceed to a full hearing, and this hearing must take place before the end of the year.  The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, unsuccessfully argued that the claim should be dismissed.


The claim is brought by a woman known only as ‘A’ because her identity must be protected for her own safety.  She is a victim of rape, assault, harassment and stalking at the hands of an ex-partner. She challenges the under-occupation provisions, colloquially known as the ‘bedroom tax’.  Under those provisions, A and her 11-year-old son are only entitled to receive housing benefit for a 2-bedroom property.  However they live in a 3-bedroom property which has been specially adapted for them by the police, because her life and physical safety are at risk from her ex-partner who has a history of serious violence.  She has had a ‘panic space’ installed in her home, and a specialist ‘sanctuary system’ installed.  This includes expensive reinforced doors, electric alarms, a marker on the house and alarms linked to the police station.  The Sanctuary Scheme aims to enable householders at risk of violence to remain safely in their own home by installing a ‘Sanctuary’ within the home and providing support to the household.  A has been told that her housing benefit is to be reduced by 14% given the Secretary of State’s policy. 


A is represented by Caoilfhionn Gallagher of Doughty Street Chambers, instructed by Rebekah Carrier   at Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors.  The charity Women’s Aid have provided evidence in support of A’s claim.


Further information is available from Hopkin Murray Beskine here.


Coverage of this issue is available:

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