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Private: Jan Luba QC

  • Call: 1980
  • Silk: 2000
Jan Luba QC
  "He can take a very complex set of facts and make it so understandable, and his arguments so logical, that you wonder why you are in court." "Head and shoulders above the rest."
Chambers UK Bar Guide

Reviewers’ comments on Jan Luba QC

From the Chambers & Partners “Top 100 QCs” List:

Jan’s entry in the first-ever list of the Top 100 Queen’s Counsel, published in December 2013, reads: “Jan Luba QC is “a truly exceptional talent” and one of the country’s foremost experts on social housing law. Interviewees describe him as a practitioner who “is at the peak of his abilities,” and who regularly showcases “exceptional legal knowledge and breathtaking advocacy skills.” He is “always pushing the boundaries in housing law challenges,” and was instructed in the only successful human rights possession case in the appeal courts.”

In the same month, Jan was recommended by his peers for inclusion in the Third Edition of Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom in the practice areas of Administrative & Public Law and Social Housing Law

From the Chambers & Partners UK Directory:

Chambers UK 2016 ranks Jan as a star individual for his social housing work, where he is described as “The leading silk for tenant-side work. He has had a long and successful career at the cutting edge of housing law developments.” It is said that he is “At the top of his game – there’s nothing that can be said about him that hasn’t already been said.” It is reported that he is “Head and shoulders above the rest.” “He is one of the top housing QCs in the country whose dedication to this area is unsurpassed.”  On his public law practice, it is said that Jan is “A first-class advocate who is very easy to work with.” “He can take a very complex set of facts and make it so understandable, and his arguments so logical, that you wonder why you are in court.”

Chambers UK 2015 ranks Jan as a star individual for his social housing work, where he is described as “one of the biggest names in the field and someone who receives effusive praise. One interviewee summed up the situation by saying: “Not only is Garden Court Chambers lucky to have him, but so is the sector as a whole.” Luba has handled countless cases against government authorities and public bodies.” One instructing solicitor says, “Jan Luba is without doubt the foremost silk working within social housing.” “An advocate in the true sense of the word.” In relation to his administrative and public law work, it is reported that Jan is “very much a specialist in housing matters, and knows everything there is to know in that area.” “He is a leading housing silk, but can turn his hand to anything.” 

Chambers UK 2014 reported that in relation to his housing work “Jan Luba QC is widely considered to represent the pinnacle of expertise in housing. “Watching him is like a master class,” says one interviewee. Over an accomplished career, he has accrued huge experience handling the full gamut of housing matters. “He is currently at the top of his game and is, frankly, brilliant.” He is “one of the leading advocates of his generation.”” In respect of his administrative and public law practice, it noted that “He is a lovely advocate. I have heard him speak when I thought he was wrong and he was able to win me over.” and “He is brilliant with lay clients, really down to earth and persuasive.”

Chambers UK 2013 reported, in relation to housing work, that Jan “is a “master of advocacy” and is “in a league of his own” when it comes to his work on homelessness cases. Armed with an “incredible knowledge and presence, both in and out of court,” he has a “lucid and imaginative way of approaching legislation.” This “highly courteous, incredibly humble and very approachable” barrister is a great favourite and was described by one instructing solicitor as being “impeccable.”” In respect of his administrative law work it noted that “one interviewee identified Jan Luba QC as “number one in the country for very complex social security cases.

Chambers UK 2012 stated that, in respect of housing work: “Jan Luba QC “is pretty much in his own league” and is noted for his tireless dedication to even the most arduous of tasks. An “extremely intelligent and hard-working QC,” he “has the ear of the Bench, and rightly so.” Sources praise his ability to hold sway in a courtroom, and acknowledge his continuing involvement in leading social housing cases in the higher courts.” On his public law practice, it reports: “The “amazing” Jan Luba QC has a niche administrative and public law practice relating to social housing, Gypsies and squatter cases. He was recently instructed in the Supreme Court case of Pinnock, the leading case on the impact of Article 8 of the Convention upon housing possession cases made by social landlords.”

Chambers UK 2011 reported that, in relation to his housing work: “Jan Luba QC is hailed as the “best appellant advocate in the field.” Peers admire the ease with which he “commands the courtroom,” and instructing solicitors agree he is “clearly in a different league from almost everyone else at the Housing Bar.” Luba is invariably seen at the forefront of cases concerning the relationship between housing and the Human Rights Act.” and in respect of his public law practice it reports: “The respected public law practice of Jan Luba QC is centred on housing law, where he is seen as being firmly at the forefront of the market. “A phenomenal appellant counsel, he takes ambitious points whilst adopting a natural, easy-going manner.”

Chambers UK 2010 said: “The chambers’ leading silk is the indefatigable Jan Luba QC. He has had a particularly busy year, with barristers confirming that “his domination of the high courts continues.”They also acclaim his “unmatched talents, enormous popularity and extremely persuasive oratory skills.”

Chambers UK 2009 reported that: “Interviewees couldn’t speak highly enough of this barrister, who is “virtually in a league of his own – his judgement about how the law should be developed to benefit those in housing need is unrivalled, and he remains the first choice for work in the appellate courts.”

Chambers UK 2008 said: “Mr Housing Law” Jan Luba QC continues to be recognised as the leading silk for housing-related public law matters. “He has an amazing ability to marshal complicated facts and arguments and present them in a simple, effective way,” reveal sources.” and that: “the “inspirational” Jan Luba QC was praised for being “a walking encyclopaedia” of housing law and its connection with other areas of social welfare law such as community care. He is also an “efficient advocate who has the ear of the court” and his peers and clients are unanimous in regarding him as “exceptional.

Based on this feedback from commentators, Jan was the only advocate ranked as a “Star Performer” for Social Housing in Chambers UK from 2008 to 2010 and retained his “Star Performer” status in 2011 to 2016.

From the Legal 500 Directory:

Legal 500 2015 noted that Jan Luba QC is “A giant in the housing law field” and “An expert in housing law.”

Legal 500 2014 noted in its Social Housing category that Jan Luba QC is the “leader in his field when it comes to acting for tenants” and, in the Administrative and Public Law category, that he is “by far the most articulate housing barrister in the country”.

Legal 500 2013 noted that “Jan Luba QC is a key figure” in Administrative and Public Law and also commented that in Social Housing, “Jan Luba QC is ‘second to none in his field.’

Legal 500 2012 ranked Jan as a Leading Silk in both the Administrative & Public Law and Property Litigation categories and described these chambers as “a widely respected leader in housing law”.

Legal 500 2011 had Jan ranked as a Leading Silk in both the Administrative & Public Law and Property Litigation categories. Commentators said that Jan has a ‘compelling courtroom presence‘ and is ‘incredibly professional and committed‘.

Legal 500 2010 recorded commentators reporting that Jan has “the ability to make the most complex area of law comprehensible” and a “fantastic understanding and depth of knowledge of both substantive law and policy”

Legal 500 2009 reported a commentator as saying Jan was “always a delight” and it described him as “a formidable housing silk“.

Legal 500 2008 described him as “a seminal figure in Housing Law”.

Legal 500 2007 said that Jan is “a brilliant advocate who has taken a leading role in the developing of housing law in the past two decades.”

Legal Practice

Housing law

Including residential landlord and tenant, homelessness, social and private sector housing, disrepair, housing standards, house renovation and housing benefit. Jan is particularly interested in the administrative law aspects of social housing provision and homelessness.

Other social welfare law

Including housing benefit and housing-related social welfare law covering health, disability, community care, discrimination and appeals to tribunals and courts.

Jan’s courtroom practice is now almost exclusively in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal – appearing in the leading Housing law cases (see Notable Cases section below). He tends to be instructed for the consumers of housing more often than for the providers, with the result that most of his work is funded by legal aid.

In addition to his advocacy work, Jan accepts a wide range of instructions to advise both consumers and providers of housing.

Most recently Jan has sought to establish the importance of housing as a “human right” particularly for the most disadvantaged and poorly housed. He has also worked on the provision of housing as an aspect of “community care” services.

Much of his recent work has been concerned with the accommodation and community care needs of the gypsy and traveller communities. For example, he was instructed by the Equality & Human Rights Commission in R(J) v Worcestershire CC which concerned a disabled child in a travelling showman’s family.

Beyond practice

Jan undertakes a wide range of teaching and training commitments and is highly regarded as an effective communicator. He writes numerous books and articles (see ‘Publications’ below). Jan also edits the on-line Case Law Digest service for housing cases.

You can follow him on Twitter: @JanLubaQC

You can connect with him at LinkedIn

His voluntary work includes undertaking Case Reviews for the Bar Pro Bono Unit and acting as a trustee and Chair of the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust. He is a member and vice-Chair (Civil) of the Bar Council’s Remuneration Committee and Chair of its Civil (Public) Panel.

Jan is a Recorder authorised to sit in civil cases in the county courts and in the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

In 2012 Jan led the Independent Commission examining the long-term future of council housing in the London Borough of Southwark.


Jan has been with Garden Court Chambers since 1992. He has regularly served on the Management Committee and steered work on Chambers’ modern constitution.

Before that, he worked for over 10 years in voluntary sector organisations including: a law centre, the CAB service, the Child Poverty Action Group and the National Housing Law Service.

Jan has been actively promoting the development of social welfare law and access to legal services for over 30 years. He has chaired the Legal Action Group and the Free Representation Unit. He was an early member of the Housing Law Practitioner’s Association (serving for many years on its executive and as Vice Chair). He represents the Bar Council on the Legal Aid Agency’s Civil Contracts Consultation Group.

He has previously been shortlisted for a Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award and was the Legal Aid Barrister of the Year 2007.

He is a Bencher of Middle Temple and a member of its Education Committee.

Notable cases

Supreme Court/House of Lords (2006-2015)

Loveridge v London Borough of Lambeth [2014] UKSC 65 Summary: the leading case on the assessment of statutory damages for the tort of unlawful eviction.

Hounga v Allen [2014] UKSC 47 Summary: the case which decides that the common law rule that illegality is a defence to a claim in tort must be tempered where the claimant is a victim of illegal human trafficking. Jan was instructed by Anti-Slavery International.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council v Hickin [2012] UKSC 39 Summary: the case which decides that common law rules on tenancy transmission prevail when a joint secure tenant dies and the other tenant no longer lives in the home.

London Borough of Hounslow v Powell [2011] UKSC 8 Summary: one of three linked appeals dealing with the impact of Pinnock (below) on the majority of social housing tenancies without security of tenure.

Manchester City Council v Pinnock [2010] UKSC 45
Summary: a major case on the impact of Article 8 on possession claims. Jan was instructed for the Equality & Human Rights Commission.

Austin v Southwark LBC [2010] UKSC 28
Summary: the case containing the obituary of the “tolerated trespasser” and also holding that the estate of a tolerated trespasser can apply to resurrect his former tenancy.

Manchester CC v Moran and Birmingham CC v Ali & Ors [2009] UKHL 36
Summary: whether a woman living in a refuge remained “homeless” and whether accommodation not reasonable to continue to occupy could be used to perform a housing duty.

Ahmad v London Borough of Newham [2009] UKHL 14
Summary: whether a local authority housing allocation scheme which organised the waiting list primarily by “date-order” was lawful.

Holmes-Moorhouse v Richmond upon Thames [2009] UKHL 7
Summary: deals with whether a separated homeless parent can rely on a shared residence order from a family court to achieve priority for rehousing.

Knowsley Housing Trust v White [2008] UKHL 70
Summary: decided that assured tenants could not lose their tenancies unless and until evicted pursuant to a possession order.

Doherty v Birmingham CC [2008] UKHL 57
Summary: whether a gypsy can rely on Article 8 ECHR (right to respect for a home) to defend a claim for possession of their plot on a council’s gypsy caravan site.

Lewisham LBC v Malcolm [2008] UKHL 43
Summary: The leading case on the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, exploring its interface with possession proceedings.

M, R (on the application of) v London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham [2008] UKHL 14
Summary: local authority responsibilities for housing homeless children.

Birmingham City Council v Walker [2007] UKHL 22
Summary: whether a son could succeed his late mother to a council tenancy of which she and her late husband had been joint tenants.

Riverside Housing Association Ltd v White [2007] UKHL 20
Summary: whether a tenancy agreement providing for rent increases each June could be read as permitting rent increases each April.

Kay v London Borough of Lambeth [2006] UKHL 10
Summary: in its time, the leading case on Human Rights and Housing

Court of Appeal (2008-2015)

J, R (on Application of) v Worcestershire County Council [2014] EWCA Civ 1518 Summary: provision of services to the disabled child in a travelling gypsy family. Jan was instructed for the Equality & Human Rights Commission.

Lawal v Circle 33 Housing Trust [2014] EWCA Civ 1514 Summary: deals with the question of whether Article 8 can be raised at the enforcement stage if not raised at trial.

Nzolameso v City of Westminster [2014] EWCA Civ 1383 Summary: the leading case on the circumstances in which a council can house a homeless person outside its own area.

Aster Communities Ltd v Akerman-Livingstone [2014] EWCA Civ 1081
Summary: deals with the approach to be applied to a possession claim in which the defendant asserts that s/he is the victim of an act of unlawful disability discrimination by a landlord.

Southend on Sea BC v Armour [2014] EWCA Civ 231 Summary: the first Court of Appeal case to uphold the refusal to make a possession order on Article 8 grounds.

Francis v Brent Housing Partnership Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 912
Summary: the case establishing that a ‘decant’ agreement made with a tolerated trespasser can amout to recognition of a new secure tenancy.

Malik v Fassenfelt [2013] EWCA Civ 798
Summary: on whether an Article 8 defence was available in a possession claim brought by a private landowner.

Loveridge v Lambeth LBC [2013] EWCA Civ 494
Summary: the case on calculating statutory damages for unlawful evictions by councils.

Chishimba v Kensington & Chelsea RLBC [2013] EWCA Civ 786
Summary: dealing with the statutory definition of intentional homelessness.

Camden LBC v Stafford [2012] EWCA Civ 839
Summary: the leading case on introductory tenancy review decisions.

Wirral MBC v Salibury Ind Living Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 84
Summary: the case deciding which Housing Benefit decisions issued to tenants gave their landlords a right of appeal.

Places for People Ltd v Sharples [2011] EWCA Civ 813
Summary: the leading case on the interface betweeen rent arrears, possession proceedings and bankruptcy.

FZ, R (on application of) v Croydon LBC [2011] EWCA Civ 59
Summary: the leading case on the correct threshold for granting permission for the judicial review of local authority age assessments of young people.

Sheffield City Council v Wall (No.2) [2010] EWCA Civ 922
Summary: whether a foster child was a “child” for the purposes of the right to succeed to a council tenancy on death of the tenant.

Hall v Mayor of London [2010] EWCA Civ 817
Summary: whether the Mayor had the right to bring a possession claim in respect of land owned by the Queen.

Metropolitan Housing Trust v Hadjazi [2010] EWCA Civ 750
Summary: the leading case on the construction of Ground 14A (domestic violence) of the grounds for possession against assured tenants.

Salford City Council v Mullen [2010] EWCA Civ 336
Summary: whether introductory tenants and non-secure tenants could defend claims to evict them by relying on their right to respect for their homes.

Henley v Bloom [2010] EWCA Civ 202
Summary: should a claim for compensation for disrepair be struck out where the tenant did not reveal the claim before giving up possession to the landlord?

Birmingham City Council v Qasim [2009] EWCA Civ 1080
Summary: whether council tenancies granted by a housing officer were valid if they were not authorised under the council’s allocation scheme.

Swindon Borough Council v Redpath [2009] EWCA Civ 943
Summary: the main case on Anti Social Behaviour Injunctions.

London & Quadrant Housing Trust v Weaver [2009] EWCA Civ 587
Summary: whether a housing association could be subject to judicial review and whether it could be a “public authority” for human rights challenges.

Welwyn Hatfield Council v McGlynn [2009] EWCA Civ 285
Summary: whether a non-secure tenant had established a seriously arguable case that the decision to evict him was unreasonable.

Bracknell Forest Borough Council v Green [2009] EWCA Civ 238
Summary: a council’s appeal from a refusal to order possession against a tenant for under-occupying the council house in which he had lived all his life was dismissed.

R (Taylor & Ors) v Basildon DC [2009] EWCA Civ 13
Summary: an appeal from the decision to evict the hundreds of travellers who had unlawfully established their homes at Dale Farm – the largest unauthorized site in the UK

Austin v London Borough of Southwark [2009] EWCA Civ 66
Summary: considers whether after the death of a tolerated trespasser his estate can apply to the court to revive his old tenancy

Newport City Council v Charles [2008] EWCA Civ 893
Summary: a review of the circumstances in which an appeal will be relisted to accommodate an appellant’s choice of counsel

R (Gilboy) v Liverpool CC [2008] EWCA Civ 751
Summary: Whether the procedures for the review of a decision to recover possession from an introductory tenant were compatible with Article 6 of the ECHR

Ehiabor v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea [2008] EWCA Civ 1074
Summary: whether a child born in the UK, who had never left the country, could be a “person from abroad” for the purposes of homelessness legislation.

Manchester CC v Moran [2008] EWCA Civ 378
Summary: whether a woman resident in a women’s refuge remained “homeless”.

Floyd v S [2008] EWCA Civ 201
Summary: whether disability discrimination could provide a defence to a claim for possession made on a mandatory ground.

Birmingham City Council v Aweys [2008] EWCA Civ 48
Summary: local authority responsibilities for housing homeless families who are presently living in poor accommodation.

Greenwood Reversions Ltd v Mehra [2008] EWCA Civ 47
Summary: whether a breach in the term of a lease had been waived and whether (if not) the tenant should have relief from forfeiture.



Co-author of Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice (Jordans, 3rd edition, December 2012)

Co-author of Defending Possession Proceedings (LAG, 7th edition, August 2010)

Co-author of Repairs: tenants’ rights (LAG, 4th edition, 2010)

Co-author of Homelessness Act 2002: A Special Bulletin (Jordans, 2002)

Housing and The Human Rights Act
(Jordans, 2000)

Co-author of Rights Guide for Home Owners (CPAG, 1990)

The Owner Occupier Handbook
(Sphere, 1990), and

The Disabled Persons Handbook
(Sphere, 1989).


Jan writes regularly for the legal and housing press including Legal Action (in which he co-authors the monthly column Recent Developments in Housing Law). He also edits the on-line Case Law Digest service for housing cases.


Jan not only contributes to the Housing Team Seminar programme in our Chambers but lectures on courses organised by many other training providers.

Other activities

Jan has always undertaken voluntary work and is currently a case reviewer for the Bar Pro Bono Unit. He was the co-patron of the Croydon Housing Aid Society and is a trustee and Chair of the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust. Jan is presently vice-Chair (Civil) of the the Bar Council’s Remuneration Committee and is Chair of its Civil (Public) Panel. He represents the Bar Council on the Legal Aid Agency’s Civil Contracts Consultation Group.