Issue 154 - 19th October 2009

Monday 19 October 2009

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The Latest Housing Law News

Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour: on 13 October 2009 the Home Secretary announced the latest tranche of measures to be taken to control anti-social behaviour. They include an increased emphasis on prosecuting for breach of ASBOs. For the detailed announcement, click here.This "new drive on ASB" was signaled in a letter sent by the Home Office to every local authority and police force on 3 August 2009. For a copy of that letter, click here. A focus for the new measures will be provided by Not in my Neighbourhood Week which is fixed for 2 - 6 November 2009. Local authorities and the police have been issued with a handbook to help them to prepare for that. For a copy, click here.

Legal Aid for Housing Cases: having just submitted their responses to the Ministry of Justice consultation paper Legal Aid: Refocusing on Priority Cases, housing advisers now have another round of representations to make following the announcement on 13 October 2009 of a Review into the Delivery of Legal Aid. For the announcement of that review, click here.
Even more urgent is the need to respond to the proposals to control legal aid expenditure on expert witnesses for which the consultation closes on 12 November 2009. For that consultation paper (Legal Aid: Funding Reforms), click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

14 October 2009
R(E) v JFS
[2009] UKSC 1
The claimant had succeeded in a claim for judicial review on an appeal in the Court of Appeal. He had had the benefit of legal aid from the Legal Services Commission (LSC). The defendant then appealed to the Supreme Court. The LSC decided that it would not continue legal aid for the claimant to resist the appeal unless he obtained a protective costs order to avoid the LSC being exposed to an adverse costs liability if the appeal succeeded. Such an order had been made in Weaver v London & Quadrant Housing Trust.
The Supreme Court refused a protective costs order and declared the LSC's decision to withdraw funding to be so unreasonable as to have been unlawful. It said: "It should be understood, as a principle of general application, that if the Legal Services Commission decide to fund a litigant whether by way of claim or a defence who is successful in his cause, that decision must ordinarily be seen to carry with it something close to an assurance that the Commission will continue to support him in any subsequent appeal by the unsuccessful party whilst he remains financially eligible." For the full judgment, click here.

12 October 2009
MSA v Croydon LBC
[2009] EWHC 2474 (Admin)
In a claim for judicial review, the question arose whether a penal notice should be attached to a mandatory order against a local authority. The Lead Judge of the Administrative Court said: "I do not think that a penal notice is necessary in orders made against a public body. A failure to comply with an order can be dealt with by an application to the court for a finding of contempt and, if necessary, a further mandatory order which may contain an indication of what might happen should there be any further failure to comply. Adverse findings coupled with what would probably be an order to pay indemnity costs should suffice since it is to be expected that a public body would not deliberately flout an order of the court. Were that to happen, the contemnor could be brought before the court and, were he to threaten to persist in his refusal, an order could be made which made it clear that if he did he would be liable to imprisonment or a fine."
For the full judgment, click here.

8 October 2009
Brentwood BC v Ball
[2009] EWHC 2433 (QB)
The defendants were gypsies. They bought some Green Belt agricultural land, laid out a hardstanding, supplied other amenities, and lived on the site in their mobile homes. They had no planning consent and the development was undertaken in breach of an enforcement notice. The council sought an injunction to clear the defendants from the land. The High Court refused the injunction. Having regard to the circumstances of the defendants, their human rights, the likelihood of planning permission being granted and all other relevant matters, the grant of an injunction would not have been proportionate. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Defending Ground 8 residential possession claims through article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
I. Loveland
[2009] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 396

Credit crunch, housing benefit and sale and rent back agreements
J. Marston and K. Wilding
[2009] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 413

Housing Law Consultations

[THIS WEEK] Closing on 23 October 2009
The consultation on the draft new Housing Allocation Code of Guidance for England. For a copy of the consultation draft, click here.

Closing on 30 October 2009
The consultation on extending the remit of the new social housing regulator (the Tenant Services Authority) to cover council housing as well as housing associations. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Closing on 26 November 2009
The consultation exercise on proposed changes to the Approved Document for Part J (Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems) of the Building Regulations. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Housing Law Events

17-19 November 2009
Lettings & Homelessness
A CIH Conference.
For the details, click here.

18 November 2009
Housing Law Update
The HLPA meeting
For the details, click here.

27 November 2009
Annual Conference
Social Housing Law Association
For the details, click here.

30 November 2009
Crime & Anti-Social Behaviour
A NHC Conference in Harrogate
For the details, click here.

2 December 2009
Residential Landlord & Tenant
A Professional Conferences event
For the details, click here.

4 December 2009
Social Housing Management Conference 2009
A Lime Legal event (Manchester).
For the details, click here.

9 December 2009
Social Housing Management Conference 2009
A Lime Legal event (London).
For the details, click here.

15 December 2009
The Housing Law Conference
An HLPA event
For the details, click here.

16 December 2009
Housing Disrepair
A LAG training day.
For the details, click here.

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