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Tessa Buchanan

  • Call: 2012
Tessa Buchanan

"Very good at relating to clients, and so highly intelligent that you completely trust her advice."

"She is an impressive junior who has a good attention to detail, and is willing and able to go the extra mile."

Chambers UK Bar Guide 2018

Tessa Buchanan is a social welfare law barrister with particular expertise in the fields of housing, homelessness, Gypsy and Traveller Law, and community care. Her practice is primarily publicly funded. She regularly represents clients in a wide range of hearings in the County Court and High Court and has appeared in several cases in the Court of Appeal. She is the vice-chair of the Housing Law Practitioners Association, a co-author of Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice (fifth edition: 2018), and a contributing author to Gypsy and Traveller Law (third edition: forthcoming).

Tessa is committed to representing clients who are homeless, who are at risk of losing their home, or whose homes suffer from disrepair. She is regularly instructed in judicial review claims, homelessness appeals, possession and disrepair trials, and other housing-related matters.

Tessa is the vice-chair of the Housing Law Practitioners’ Association and a co-author of Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice, fifth edition, Lexis Nexis (2018).

Notable cases

Test case on meaning of “significantly” more vulnerable

Panayioutou v Waltham Forest London Borough Council [2017] EWCA Civ 1624

In a case with widespread implications for homeless applicants, the Court of Appeal handed down guidance on when a person is vulnerable and therefore in priority need under the Housing Act 1996.

Housing under the Children Act 1989

R (SC) v London Borough of Ealing [2016] EWHC 2765 (Admin)

This was a challenge to the council’s decision that the Claimant’s children were not in need and therefore that no accommodation would be provided for the family.  Tessa represented the Claimant in contested hearings in the High Court and then successfully obtained permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal on an important point of principle.

Complex possession case involving fraudulent agent

Kalganova v Matumorya and Mandazi October 2014 Legal Action 48

Tessa acted for the Second Defendant in a claim for possession brought on the grounds that the Defendants were trespassers.  In a complex case involving multiple contracts/tenancy agreements and a fraudulent third party, she successfully rebutted arguments that the defendants had entered onto the land without lawful consent; that a tenancy agreement between the claimant and the agent was void for uncertainty, illegality, or fraudulent misrepresentation; that the agreement between the claimant and the agent did not create a tenancy and was not valid; that the defendants’ sub tenancy had been forfeited; and that the sub tenancy was unlawful.

Other recent cases including:

  • A successful urgent application for interim relief in a judicial review.
  • An appeal against a decision that the client was not in priority need, which settled in the client’s favour.
  • A successful contested appeal against a finding of intentional homelessness.
  • A successful contested application for an interim injunction in a homelessness appeal.
  • A successful application to discharge an anti-social behaviour injunction.
  • A successful appeal against a District Judge’s decision to grant an injunction.

Tessa has a particular interest in representing members of the Gypsy, Traveller, and Roma communities. She has appeared in some notable recent cases in this area and is a contributing author to Gypsy and Traveller Law, third edition, LAG (forthcoming).  She is also a trustee of London Gypsies and Travellers.

Notable cases

Test case about implications of discrimination by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Mulvenna v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2017] EWCA Civ 1850, [2018] JPL 516

This case arose from the SSCLG’s practice of recovering Gypsy and Traveller planning appeals in the Green Belt, which had been found to be discriminatory in Moore and Coates v SSCLG [2015] EWHC 44 (Admin).  The case explored the consequences of that judgment for the many other Gypsies and Travellers whose appeals had also been unlawfully recovered.

Provision for homeless Gypsy family under the Children Act 1989

R (SC) v London Borough of Ealing [2016] EWHC 2765 (Admin)

This was a challenge to the council’s decision that the Claimant’s children were not in need and therefore that no accommodation would be provided for the family.  Tessa represented the Claimant in contested hearings in the High Court and then successfully obtained permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal on an important point of principle.

Wide injunction

Ealing LBC v Connors [2016] EWHC 1387 (QB), [2016] JPL 1100
Tessa acted for the first defendant in a case challenging the council’s application for a borough-wide injunction.

 

Tessa acts in a wide range of community care cases. She is regularly instructed in judicial review matters and appears frequently in the High Court.

She has a particular interest in representing children and is often instructed in cases involving challenges to failures to provide support or accommodation under the Children Act 1989; cases involving children who are leaving or have left care; and challenges to age assessments of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Notable cases

Test case on use of dental age estimations and photographs in age assessments

R (AS) v Kent County Council [2017] UKUT 446 (IAC)

Tessa acted for the claimant, led by Ian Wise QC, in an age assessment raising issues of wider importance including the reliability of dental age assessments and the use of photographs in age assessments.  The Tribunal agreed with their arguments that dental age assessments are not reliable and booklets of photographs are of no evidential use.

Successful challenge to age assessment

R (HM) v Kent County Council

Tessa acted for the Claimant in a complex age assessment dispute.  After a five-day trial in the Upper Tribunal, the judge found that the claimant was younger than the age assessed by the local authority.

Provision for homeless Gypsy family under the Children Act 1989

R (SC) v London Borough of Ealing [2016] EWHC 2765 (Admin)

This was a challenge to the council’s decision that the Claimant’s children were not in need and therefore no accommodation would be provided for the family.  Tessa represented the Claimant in contested hearings in the High Court and then successfully obtained permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal on an important point of principle.

 

Tessa is rapidly establishing a busy practice in planning law, with a particular focus on representing Gypsies and Travellers. She has appeared in notable recent cases in this field and acts for clients in tribunals ranging from planning inquiries to the Court of Appeal. She is a trustee of London Gypsies and Travellers and a contributing author to Gypsy and Traveller Law, third edition, LAG (forthcoming).

Notable cases

Test case about implications of discrimination by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Mulvenna v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2017] EWCA Civ 1850, [2018] JPL 516

This case arose from the SSCLG’s practice of recovering Gypsy and Traveller planning appeals in the Green Belt, which had been found to be discriminatory in Moore and Coates v SSCLG [2015] EWHC 44 (Admin).  The case explored the consequences of that judgment for the many other Gypsies and Travellers whose appeals had also been unlawfully recovered.

Planning inquiry

Tessa recently appeared in a complex five-day planning inquiry which involved two joined appeals and several expert witnesses.  One of the appeals was upheld, with permanent planning permission granted.

Wide injunction

Ealing LBC v Connors [2016] EWHC 1387 (QB), [2016] JPL 1100

Tessa acted for the first defendant challenging the council’s application for a borough-wide injunction

Tessa is a member of the Traveller Movement’s pro bono panel of counsel and is also a trustee for the London Gypsy and Traveller Unit.

She accepts pro bono instructions.

Tessa joined Garden Court Chambers in October 2013 after completing her pupillage here.

Before coming to the Bar, she volunteered with Hammersmith and Fulham Community Law Centre, the Children’s Legal Centre, Just for Kids Law, the Free Representation Unit (FRU), and the National Centre for Domestic Violence.

Co-author, Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice, fifth edition, Lexis Nexis (2018).

Contributing author, Gypsy and Traveller Law, third edition, LAG (forthcoming).

Co-author, Article 8 and disability discrimination: where are we now? (2014) 18 L. & T. Review 210.

Tessa frequently provides training for people working in the legal, charity, and advice sectors.  Recent seminars and lectures include:

  • Vulnerability after Panayiotou (HLPA)
  • Homelessness reviews and appeals (solicitors’ firm)
  • Accommodation and support for Traveller families: developments and good practice (Garden Court Chambers seminar)
  • Urgent applications for accommodation under the Housing Act 1996 and the Children Act 1989
  • Housing Law Update (HLPA)
  • The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (HLPA)

 

  • Bernard Sunley prize, Inner Temple (2012-13)
  • Princess Royal Scholar, Inner Temple (2011-12)
  • Trinity Chambers Prize for Best Overall Performance, Northumbria University BPTC (2011-12)
  • Parklane Plowden Chambers Prize for Best Advocate, Northumbria University BPTC (2011-12)
  • BPTC Scholar, Northumbria University (2011-12)
  • Winner, Inner Temple Leeds Debating Competition (2011)
  • Winner, Middle Temple Monroe Cup (2010)
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