Central London County Court dismisses claim for possession against profoundly deaf gay man who cannot speak

Friday 24 January 2014

The Central London County Court has dismissed a claim for possession against a profoundly deaf gay man who cannot speak. The judge called for more flexible criteria when considering lesbian or gay relationships. John Beckley represented the defendant.

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The defendant claimed to be entitled to succeed to his late deaf partner's council tenancy because they had lived together as if they were civil partners for the five years before his partner's death. Brent claimed that the couple could not have been living together as civil partners because they were not open with the council about their sexuality or their relationship. HHJ Lochrane found that Brent had failed to show the required delicacy and sensitivity that such a case required, given the potentially devastating effect of a vulnerable disabled man losing his home. It had failed to make proper inquiries before coming to a conclusion and imposed an inflexible set of criteria which were inappropriate when considering lesbian or gay relationships. He found that being open and unequivocal about a relationship did not require being open with the wider world, and in particular with a landlord or local authority, but rather required there to be sufficient external witnesses who could testify to the relationship, as there were in this case.

John Beckley was instructed by Debra Wilson of Anthony Gold solicitors.

John is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Housing Team.

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