Mark Baumohl appears in a Court of Appeal case with potential implications for Litigants in Person making homelessness appeals out of time

15 January 2020

Mark Baumohl is representing the local authority today in the Court of Appeal case of Al Ahmed  v the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The case concerns what constitutes a ‘good reason’ for extending the time limit to file a s. 204 appeal notice under the Housing Act 1996.

Previously, the High Court found that trying to find legal representation was not a good enough reason to be granted an extension to the time limit.

Homeless charity Shelter is intervening in the case.

 Background to the case

Mr Ahmed applied to Tower Hamlets as homeless. The council decided that he was not in priority need for accommodation and upheld this decision on review. According to the legislation, once the council had informed Mr Ahmed of its decision, he had 21 days to file a section 204 appeal notice.

About one month out of time, Mr Ahmed filed an appeal with an application for an extension of time citing difficulty finding a solicitor who would take on his case. Initially the extension was granted, but this decision was overturned on appeal on the basis that a delay in finding representation was not a good reason for failing to bring the appeal in time.  The question before the court is whether there was good reason for the delays in this case.