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Reliance on Equality Act defence at warrant stage

3 September 2018, by Connor Johnston

Connor Johnston

Paragon Asra Housing Ltd v Neville [2018] EWCA Civ 1712, 26 July 2018

In 2015, Paragon instituted possession proceedings against Mr Neville on the grounds of anti-social and nuisance behaviour. A proportion of the allegations were admitted by Mr Neville but were said to arise in consequence of a disability, in the form of personality and behavioural disorders which Mr Neville suffered from. The proceedings were compromised by the agreement of the parties, by means of a suspended possession order.

Paragon subsequently sought to enforce the order relying on further allegations of anti-social behaviour and Mr Neville then sought to suspend that warrant. The issue that came before the Court of Appeal was whether or not the court in determining the application to suspend was required to consider, at the warrant stage, whether the enforcement of the possession order would result in unlawful discrimination contrary to sections 15 and 35 Equality Act 2010. The District Judge at first instance held that it was not. Her decision was overturned on appeal.

The Court of Appeal allowed Paragon’s appeal. It was implicit in the making of the possession order, that the court had undertaken the ‘relevant proportionality inquiry’ and was satisfied that possession should be given and that, if it was not, the order could be lawfully enforced. As such, in the absence of a material change of circumstances between the making of the order and the attempt to enforce, a tenant could not ask the court to reconsider the issue of proportionality.

The judgment is available here: Paragon Asra Housing Ltd v Neville [2018] EWCA Civ 1712

Ed Fitzpatrick and Justine Compton of the Garden Court Housing team appeared for the Respondent.

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