Rebekah’s public law work includes successful challenges to local housing policies as well as to decision making and central and local government policy. Her recent work includes cases concerning welfare benefits reform, entitlement to continuing healthcare, the regulation of hazardous landfill sites, and childcare funding. She also has a particular interest in the allocation of social housing and has acted in cases involving the allocation schemes of a number of local authorities.
Rebekah has acted in a number of important challenges to aspects of the government’s welfare reform policies including the case of R (A) v SSWP, in which the European Court of Human Rights found that the application of the UK government’s bedroom tax to victims of domestic violence occupying “sanctuary scheme” homes was unlawful.
Rebekah’s housing work often involves using the law creatively to prevent homelessness and ensure that her clients obtain not just a roof over their heads but appropriate housing that meets their needs. Rebekah receives referrals from and has provided training for voluntary organisations including women’s refuges, organisations supporting disabled children and their families, and projects working with refugees and victims of trafficking.
Rebekah was shortlisted for Liberty’s Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award 2016 for her ground-breaking challenges to the government’s benefit cap and bedroom tax policies.
Rebekah writes about housing and legal aid issues and is a contributor to the Legal Action Group publication, “Disabled children: a legal handbook”.
Rebekah qualified as a solicitor in 1991 and has since worked in private practice and in the not for profit sector. She worked at Southwark Law Centre from 2006 to 2012 before joining Hopkin Murray Beskine
A v United Kingdom 34614/17 – 24 October 2019. European Court of Human Rights; application of “bedroom tax” to survivor of domestic violence occupying “sanctuary scheme” home found to be unlawful. The judgment establishes that justifying discrimination involving disabled persons or on the grounds of gender will require “weighty reasons”.
DA v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions –  UKSC 21 – Supreme Court decision in judicial review challenge to reduced “benefit cap” brought on behalf of several lone parents and their children under the age of two.
R (Z) v Hackney LBC & Agudas Israel Housing Association Limited –  UKSC 40: appeal to the Supreme Court in a discrimination challenge to a housing association’s lettings policy.
Ward & Others v LB Hillingdon  EWCA Civ 692 – Court of Appeal decision in successful discrimination challenge brought on behalf of Irish Travellers relating to the 10 year residence requirement in a local authority’s housing allocation policy.
R (T & Others) v Secretary of State for Education  EWHC 2582 (Admin) Judicial review challenge to the secretary of state’s policy granting additional free childcare to working parents, under which lone parents unable to work due to disability or caring responsibilities were not eligible for additional childcare.
R (XY) v Haringey LBC  EWHC 2276 (Admin) – successful challenge which clarifies local authority duties to prepare a “housing needs assessment” and “personalised housing plan” under s189A Housing Act 1996.
R (KS and AM) v London Borough of Haringey  EWHC 587 (Admin) – council held to have unlawfully failed to address disabled child’s housing needs.
Hurley v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  EWHC 3382 (Admin) – High Court – inclusion of carers’ allowance in benefit cap found unlawful.