Three Court of Appeal judges yesterday unanimously ruled that Westminster City Council acted unlawfully when it refused to offer accommodation to Gaudenzio Castelli, 36, and Jose Tristan-Garcia, 33, because they were European Union immigrants with no realistic prospect of finding work.
The judges upheld the men's claim that their medical condition had entitled them to housing under European law when they applied last year, even though they were jobless.
The decision was seen by many as a setback to the Government's crackdown on "benefits tourists" from EU countries accused of taking advantage of Britain's benefits system.
Ayer Kemal, for Westminster, said: "The significance of this case is that it does give rights of housing to all EU nationals, even if they do not have a right of residence within the country. The decision is of great importance to housing authorities all over the country."Reuse content