in the UK
The size of Britain's homeless population has risen considerably since the introduction of the Housing (Homeless) Persons Act 1977. Recently, the Government announced plans radically to reform the existing legislation, a recognition of the political sensitivity of homelessness and the need for a coherent policy to tackle the problem. Housing the homeless is an issue which embraces housing, family and social security policy; it has also generated considerable interest for public lawyers, as the scope of discretionary powers provided by the Act has provoked a great deal of litigation in the High Court. In the original study the author presents a detailed empirical study of three local authorities implementation of the homelessness legislation. He focuses in particular on the processes of administrative decision-making at the lowest level, and reveals that 'law' plays a very limited role in shaping administrative policy decisions. Placing law within a context of administrative action, the author illustrates how administrative law must be understood by reference to the complex institutional structures with which it is daily involved.
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