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The House of Lords and homeless people's rights

Robson, Peter (2001) The House of Lords and homeless people's rights. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 22 (4). pp. 415-434. ISSN 0964-9069

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Abstract

For the past 20 years, there has been legislation enshrining certain rights for homeless people. This essay is an assessment of the judiciary's role towards homeless people as far as it applies to the most senior court, the House of Lords. It describes the nature of those issues where the House of Lords have had the opportunity to discuss the operation of the homeless persons legislation. It also seeks to explore the reasons why the approach taken has been restrictive. The House of Lords has played an important part in interpreting the homeless rights legislation. The restrictive role of their Lordships is contrasted with other areas where the court has taken rather more generous perspectives on the rights of vulnerable people. It canvasses the various reasons why this should have occurred and notes that limited assistance can be gleaned from traditional approaches to this judicial task. It suggests that the concept of differential politicization throws useful light on the process.