2010 12 Housing

Saturday 1 January 2011

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Manchester City Council v Pinnock and EQHC [2010] UKSC 45: The court held that the ECtHR jurisprudence established that: any person at risk of being dispossessed of his home at a local authority's suit should in principle have the right to question the measure's proportionality under article 8 ECHR, even if his right of occupation under domestic law had ended. A procedure limited to considering proportionality through traditional judicial review without the court making its own factual assessment in an appropriate case was inadequate. Where the measure included proceedings involving more than one stage, the proceedings as a whole had to be considered to see if article 8 had been complied with. If the court concluded that it would be disproportionate to evict a person, it would be unlawful so long as that conclusion obtained. The ECtHR seemed also to have franked the view that it would only be in exceptional cases that article 8 proportionality would even arguably give a right to continued possession where the applicant had no right under domestic law to remain. The Court was able to make certain general points [61]-[64] in particular at paragraph [64]:

“Sixthly, the suggestions put forward on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, that proportionality is more likely to be a relevant issue “in respect of occupants who are vulnerable as a result of mental illness, physical or learning disability, poor health or frailty”, and that “the issue may also require the local authority to explain why they are not securing alternative accommodation in such cases” seem to us well made.”

(click here for transcript). It is noteworthy that the appeal in the Supreme Court in the cases of Frisby. Mullen et al were heard in December 2010 which will add flesh to the bones of Pinnock.

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