Chapter

The Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977

IAN LOVELAND

in Housing Homeless Persons

Published in print March 1995 | ISBN: 9780198258766
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681868 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198258766.003.0004

Series: Oxford Socio-Legal Studies

The Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977

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This chapter focuses on the more specific context of the Act's parliamentary origins. Its primary concern is to stress that public lawyers, whether engaged in black-letter or socio-legal analyses of government behaviour, should not invariably presume that a legislature has adequately expressed its preferred policy objectives in statutory form. Confusion, uncertainty, or just plain incompetence are rarely assumed to be active ingredients within the lawmaking recipe; but such factors may be readily discernible through a close examination of parliamentary records. A more cynical perspective would question the bona fides of the legislative or judicial process. A statute may have been enacted, or a case decided, as an exercise in ‘symbolic reassurance’, in the knowledge that its professed objectives can never be achieved, but in the hope that merely by being seen to have done something about the problem the legislature can divert or defuse the political pressures which initially forced it to act. The chapter addresses such possibilities in charting the way in which the various contextual concerns outlined in Chapters 1 and 2 influenced both the contents of the 1977 Act and the courts' subsequent interpretation of statutory formulae.

Keywords: homeless legislation; public lawyers; lawmaking; statute; policy objectives

Chapter.  11511 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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