When 72 people died and many more were injured in London's 2017 Grenfell Tower blaze, the tragedy highlighted a glaring omission in the country's housing laws - there was no legal obligation to ensure homes were fit for human habitation.
UTS Law Associate Professor Jessie Hohmann's research focuses on the Tower fire as a breach of the right to housing in contravention of the UK's obligations under international law.
Article 11(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognises "the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living ... including adequate food, clothing and housing."
Dr Hohmann says the UK has not been upholding these rights:
The Grenfell Tower fire demonstrates that the UK has not been meeting its obligations to protect and ensure adequate housing for all as the conditions leading to the fire, the fire itself, and the government's response clearly show.
But there is more to this failure than just the conditions which created the fire. Dr Hohmann argues that as well as being habitable and accessible, the location of housing must be considered when assessing whether it is adequate in terms of human rights:
This aspect recognises that housing is part of the social fabric of our lives - the spatial relationship of the home to other houses, to the local area, to livelihoods, shops, schools and recreational facilities, as well as to webs of kin and community -are an important aspect of it.
The Grenfell Tower is in one of the most affluent areas of London but the fire highlighted the rising inequality and weak social protections for the poor despite this surrounding wealth. Residents were isolated from many of the living conditions they had a right to expect including available work opportunities and affordable educational and health services
In March this year, the UK introduced a new law - The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation Act) 2018.
But as Dr Hohmann's research emphasises, investigations into the Grenfell fire have revealed a broader problem - many thousands of households in the UK are not enjoying adequate, safe and secure housing as required by international law.
If you are interested in undertaking research on this topic, take a look at our postgraduate law research degrees.