Justine has specialised in housing law (as a solicitor and barrister) for over 20 years. She specialises in complex homelessness cases and possession claims involving vulnerable tenants. She also has particular experience in anti-social behaviour matters and succession cases. She is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor.
Justine has been appointed as a Deputy District Judge on the South Eastern Circuit.
B5/2017/1218 Paragon Asra Housing Ltd v Neville - Court of Appeal - 10/7/18 - judgment awaited - led by Edward Fitzpatrick
Appeal by the Claimant landlord against the lower court decision that ss.15 and 35 Equality Act 2010 could be invoked at a warrant suspension application.
The Defendant tenant was disabled. The parties invited the court to make a suspended order which was subsequently breached. The trial judge refused to allow the defendant to rely on ss.15 and 35 of the Equality Act 2010 unless a significant change of circumstance since the SPO could be demonstrated (as per R (on the application of JL) v Secretary of State for Defence  EWCA Civ 449). The application to suspend the warrant was ultimately refused. The Defendant successfully appealed and Recorder Williamson QC set aside the order of the Trial Judge holding that the Judge should have revisited the issue of discrimination and applied a structured approach to ss.15 and 35 EA 2010 (as per Aster Communities Ltd v Akerman-Livingstone  UKSC 15) at the enforcement stage.
Islington LBC v Dyer  EWCA Civ 150;  P.T.S.R. 731;  H.L.R. 20 (led by Tim Baldwin)
A notice served by a landlord on a tenant for the purposes of the Housing Act 1996 s.128 could be comprised in more than one document. There was no reason why an accompanying information leaflet should not be treated as part of the notice if the reasonable recipient would have understood that the documents were intended to be read together.
CM v Westminster CC - Central London County Court - 1/12/16 - s.204 Housing Act 1996 appeal.
The court quashed the decision by Westminster that the applicant was not homeless.
Ms Recorder Genn upheld the four substantive grounds of appeal and found that the Council had made insufficient enquiries and had failed to properly consider whether CM had any legal entitlement to occupy her children's accommodation in India.
The Council had not considered whether it was reasonable for CM to relocate to India having been in the UK for 16 years and granted British Citizenship and that the Council had failed to properly consider the cultural issues involved.
Counsel and case featured in The Times, Lawyer of the Week column.
R (ota of Francis) v LB Ealing - High Court - Administrative Court - Mr Justice Stuart-Smith - 22/11/17
Application for interim relief regarding provision of temporary accommodation pending determination of the client's homeless application. The client had significant mental health and addiction problems. His protective factor was his dog.
The council offered him accommodation which was shared and where a dog was not permitted. An urgent order was sought from the court which specified that accommodation must be provided which was self-contained and a dog permitted.
The court granted the order in the terms sought. Unusual in that normally the court would leave it to the local authority to find 'suitable' accommodation and would not prescribe what was suitable.
London & Quadrant HT v The PRs of Anna-Marie Stenger and Mr S Seeram - DJ Swann - Clerkenwell & Shoreditch County Court - 7 and 8 July 2018
A claim for possession by the landlord, defended on the basis that Mr Seeram had satisfied the succession provisions under s.17 HA 1988 by a) Being in a relationship with the deceased which was akin to being a spouse/civil partner as defined in s.17(4) of the Act, and: b) Immediately before the deceased's death, he occupied the flat as his only or principal home.
The defendant produced 18 witnesses, 15 of whom attended court. After hearing from 10 of them, the claimant landlord conceded the claim and agreed that Mr Seeram had met the provisions and had accordingly succeeded to the tenancy. It also agreed to clear the significant rent arrears which had accrued during the time which the issue had been in dispute (over £9000).
Vala-Devine v City of Westminster, Central London County Court, HHJ Wulwick - 2016
A homeless appeal concerning whether the client was intentionally homeless as a result of leaving her husband who had caused the client psychological harm. There was no existing authority on whether the committal of adultery was capable of fulfilling the wider definition of domestic violence as formulated in the case of Yemshaw v LB Hounslow ( UKSC 3).
The Judge held (1) such behaviour did amount to domestic violence and (2) the evidence of the Appellant's treating professionals should not have been rejected. The fact that they were not treating the Appellant at the time of her departure in no way undermined the evidence.
Brown v Ealing LBC (led by Marc Willers QC) - Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court), 09 March 2017,  EWHC 467 (Admin)
Judicial review of the decision to grant planning permission to QPR football club for a training ground. The claim was refused by the High Court. Permission to appeal was granted by the Court of Appeal.
The case concerns (1) whether the local authority found non- Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) harm existed and whether the loss of public access was acceptable when balanced against the availability of the new public sports pitches outwith the very special circumstances exercise and (2) the failure to further London Plan policy to protect MOL open spaces.
see also cases under 'ROMANI GYPSY AND TRAVELLER RIGHTS'
Justine represents Gypsies and Travellers in eviction and planning matters. Having focused on this area of law for over five years as a solicitor, she has an in-depth knowledge of the issues facing Gypsies and Travellers and their accommodation needs. Justine has experience of advising and representing clients in respect of unauthorised encampments, issues arising out of occupation of public sites, planning applications, hearings and inquiries for private sites and breaches of planning control including direct action and injunctions.
Justine has been a Trustee of Friends, Families and Travellers since 2000.
High Court, QBD, Birmingham District Registry - Kettering BC v Foster and others
Application to vary a s.187b TCPA injunction to enable the client and his family to remain residing on the site until 31 October 2016 by which time his planning appeal, listed for 23 and 24 August 2016 will have been determined.
Doncaster MBC v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (led by Marc Willers QC)  EWHC 2876 (Admin)
Representing the second defendant, a Gypsy who had been granted planning permission by a planning inspector. The Local Authority appealed against this decision.
The court ruled that the planning inspector had properly applied planning policies regarding Traveller sites and development in the green belt. Although the policies stated that it was unlikely that unmet need for Traveller sites and personal circumstances would outweigh harm to the green belt, that did not mean that they could not do so. Appeal dismissed. It was one of the first cases analysing the amended planning guidance on Gypsy sites in the Green Belt.