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Liz Davies

  • Call: 1994
Liz Davies
"She is known for her tireless commitment to her clients and her astonishing breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding of the law."

Chambers UK, 2019

"She is one of the most outstanding, highly regarded and dedicated barristers in the country."

Chambers UK


LALY Award 2014Liz was a finalist for the Legal Aid Barrister of the Year Award 2014.

Liz specialises in all aspects of housing law, with a particular expertise in homelessness and allocation of social housing. She also practises in areas of community care and Children Act cases, particularly where accommodation might be an issue.

Liz is committed to acting for the homeless, and for tenants and other occupiers, and has a tenacious and practical approach to conducting her cases. She is on the panel for the Bar Pro Bono Unit. She accepts instructions to appear in the Court of Protection and has provided training and written case updates on capacity, deprivation of liberty and other Court of Protection issues.

Liz is ranked as a “Star Individual” in social housing by Chambers UK 2019 and as a leading junior in social housing (Tier 1) by the Legal 500 2019.

She is the co-author, with HHJ Jan Luba QC, Connor Johnston and Tessa Buchanan, of Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice (LexisNexis, 2018, 5th edition). A description and reviews are here.

Liz regularly speaks at conferences and training events, principally on aspects of homelessness or allocation of social housing law, but also on other areas of housing law. Her keynote speech to Housing Law Practitioners Association, delivered on 12 December 2018, is here.

Liz is also a qualified mediator. Further details can be found on the Garden Court Chambers Mediation website.

What the directories say

“She is known for her tireless commitment to her clients and her astonishing breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding of the law.”
Chambers UK 2019

“Meticulous, calm and compelling; encyclopaedic knowledge presented in plain English.”
Legal 500 2019

In previous years

“She is very nice and approachable, clear in her advice and willing to support you in difficult circumstances if you need some urgent or immediate advice.” “Always great to work with, she works really hard for clients and gets great results.”
Chambers UK 2018

“A punchy advocate, who is also very helpful and approachable.”
Legal 500 2017

“A real star of the housing team. She brings confidence and experience to the courtroom and has a real passion for housing and the rights of tenants.” “Has an encyclopaedic knowledge of homelessness law and is a really good advocate as well.”
Chambers UK 2017

“An excellent and knowledgeable barrister.”
Legal 500 2016

“She has an infectious passion for social justice and always goes the extra mile for clients.” “She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of homelessness law and is an excellent advocate.” “She is one of the most outstanding, highly regarded and dedicated barristers in the country.”
Chambers UK 2016

“Well versed in homelessness and housing law.”
Legal 500 2015

“She goes that little bit further in her advice, reminding you what you need to do. She does not miss a thing and keeps you informed.” It is noted that Liz is “praised by clients for her impressive knowledge of the sector and her tactically astute approach.”
Chambers UK 2015

“She’s very thorough, absolutely brilliant with clients and has a lot of gravitas. She knows the subject extremely well and is a highly specialised housing lawyer.”
Chambers UK 2014

Legal 500 2014 describes Liz as: “Knowledgeable and understands how to get the best out of judges.”

Legal 500 2012 describes her as: “‘everyone’s first for homeless issues’”.

“The “fierce and robust” Liz Davies has moved up in the rankings this year because she is a “brilliant advocate” and “one of the leaders in homelessness law.” She “can tackle complex cases under pressure with ease” and has, of late, been involved with a number of homelessness appeals.”
Chambers UK 2013

“Liz Davies is “superb, polite and decent” and “very committed to assisting vulnerable clients.” She is praised for her “comprehensive legal knowledge, particularly in relation to homelessness” and also for her strong advocacy skills.”
Chambers UK 2012

Liz Davies receives outstanding praise for her expertise on homelessness and housing allocation work. Instructing solicitors turn to her for particularly tricky legal points, safe in the knowledge that “she will always spot what has never been noticed before.” Davies is noted for her “clarity of expression and probing cross-examination” in the courtroom”
Chambers UK 2011

“Former solicitor Liz Davies is renowned as “one of the most able juniors around.” She co-authored the main textbook on homelessness and allocation law and is seen as an absolute authority” in that area of law. She is also able to maintain particularly good relationships with clients.”
Chambers UK 2010

“Liz Davies has been promoted to the top tier of the rankings this year following a glut of positive feedback. “A good fighter in court,” she is a leading thinker on homelessness and allocation law, an area she “knows inside-out.”
Chambers UK 2009



  • Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice, co-author with HHJ Jan Luba QC, Connor Johnston and Tessa Buchanan (LexisNexis 2018, 5th edition).
  • Contributor to Housing Law Handbook (Cottle et al, Law Society, 2009)
  • The Homelessness Act 2002: Special Bulletin (Jordans, 2002) co-author with Jan Luba QC
  • Regular contributor to housing law journals and to the Socialist Lawyer (Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers)


  • Through the Looking Glass: a dissenter inside New Labour (Verso, 2001)
  • Monthly columnist for the Morning Star newspaper

Notable Cases

R (Hoyte) v Southwark LBC [2016] EWHC 1665 (Admin): when a local housing authority is required to accept fresh application for homelessness assistance on the basis of “new facts”.

R (Alansi) v Newham LBC [2013] EWCA Civ 3722 (Admin): the issue of legitimate expectation within a local housing authority’s allocation scheme.

Holt v Reading Borough Council [2013] EWCA Civ 641, CA: a judge was entitled to make an order for possession setting out the conditions under which the local housing authority should secure alternative accommodation.

Johnson & others v Old [2013] EWCA Civ 415, CA: On the correct construction of a tenancy agreement, a payment made by the tenant at the start of the tenancy pursuant to a requirement in the agreement to pay the first six months’ rent in advance was not a tenancy deposit required to paid into a deposit protection scheme, but was the advance payment of rent.

Ali v Birmingham City Council, Moran v Manchester City Council [2009] UKHL 36, [2009] 1 WLR 1506, HL: Women’s refuges are not reasonable to continue to occupy and therefore women occupying refuge accommodation are homeless.

Ahad v Tower Hamlets LBC [2008] EWCA Civ 606, CA

R (Kilby) v Basildon DC; [2007] EWCA Civ 479 [2007] H.L.R. 39, CA:
(variation of terms of secure tenancies).

R (Conville) v Richmond upon Thames LBC [2006] EWCA Civ 718:
local housing authorities may not take into account their own resources when deciding what period would give intentionally homeless families a “reasonable opportunity” of finding their own accommodation.

Al-Ameri v Kensington & Chelsea RLBC [2004] 4UKHL 4, [2004] 2 AC 159, [2004] HLR 20
: accommodation provided by NASS does not constitute residence of own choice for purposes of local connection.

Sheffield City Council v Smart [2002] EWCA Civ 04 [2002] HLR 34: human rights defences in possession actions for non-secure tenancies.

Ingle v Scarborough Borough Council [2002] EWCA Civ 290 [2002] HLR 36: home loss payments for secure tenants.

Kacar v London Borough of Enfield [2001] 33 HLR 64 CA: scope of inquiries in homeless applications.

Warsame v London Borough of Hounslow [1999] 32 HLR 335 CA: jurisdiction of County Court to hear appeals against decisions discharging homelessness duties.

First Instance Cases

A list of Liz Davies’ first instance cases is available here.


Liz started her professional life as a solicitor at TV Edwards, working in Tower Hamlets and Hackney. She developed a specialism in housing law as a solicitor. She came to the Bar in 1994.

Liz is a well-known labour movement and peace activist. She was a councillor in Islington between 1990 and 1998 and chaired the council’s women’s committee. She regularly writes and speaks on issues involving civil liberties, social justice, anti-war and anti-racism campaigns.

Liz is honorary Vice-President of the Haldane Society.