Section 17 and no recourse to public funds

January 5, 2015

The latter half of 2014 saw the Administrative Court consider challenges to local authority decisions concerning the provision, under s. 17 of the Children Act 1989, of financial support for families who have no recourse to public funds. Eirwen Pierrot examines the rulings.

A key issue in the four cases (in chronological sequence) of R (PO, KO and RO) v Newham LBC [2014] EWHC 2561; R (Mensah) v Salford CC [2014] EWHC 3537, heard together with R (Bello) v Salford CC; and R (C, T, M and U) v Southwark LBC [2014] EWHC 3983 was whether the local authority had acted lawfully in formulating policies that used the level of payments made under other statutory schemes (such as child benefit and humanitarian support provided for failed asylum seekers) as benchmarks for amounts payable as subsistence for destitute families under section 17.