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Social Housing case law update: February 2013

Alan Doey v Islington LBC [2012] EWCA Civ 1825
The Sentencing Council's Guidelines on breaches of anti-social behaviour orders were, strictly, applicable to criminal cases, but had an obvious role in civil contempt cases. A 16-week sentence of imprisonment for admitted breaches of an anti-social behaviour injunction had been within the permissible range and in line with those guidelines (see Amicus Horizon Ltd v James Thorley [2012] EWCA Civ 817).

Fred Perry (Holdings) Ltd v (1) Brands Plaza Trading Ltd and another [2012] EWCA Civ 224
The Court of Appeal refused to overturn a judge's decision not to grant relief from sanctions under CPR 3.9, indicating that it was vital that the Court of Appeal should support first instance judges who made robust but fair case management decisions. Lord Justice Jackson noted that non-compliance with the CPR and orders of the court on the scale occurring in the instant case could not be tolerated. The judge's application of r3.9 could not be faulted. There was a concern that relief from sanctions was being granted too readily, and following the amendments to r3.9, which were expected to come into force on April 1, 2013, litigants who substantially disregarded court orders or the requirements of the CPR would receive significantly less indulgence than they had hitherto (see Byrne v Poplar Harca [2012] HLR 33, in which Andy Lane represented Poplar Harca, to similar effect).

Falis Ibrahim v Wandsworth LBC [2013] EWCA Civ 20
The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Review Procedures) Regulations 1999 reg.8(2) requirement that a reviewer of a homelessness decision notify an applicant if she was minded to make a decision that was against the applicant's interests where there had been a deficiency or irregularity in the original decision did not apply where the applicant had not complained about the original error, the reviewer had not upheld the erroneous part of the decision, and the reviewer made no decision against the applicant about which she was entitled to complain.

Evans v Brent LBC (18/12/12 – Ramsey J)
A court had been wrong to grant a local authority an order for possession of a property that an individual claimed she was entitled to by way of succession under the Housing Act 1985 s87, where factual matters remained surrounding her alleged entitlement that required further investigation by the court.

Amanda Carthew v Exeter City Council [2012] All ER (D) 50 (Dec)
A local authority's review decision that an individual had intentionally made herself homeless within the meaning of the Housing Act 1996 s191 by transferring her rights in a property to her partner was quashed because the local authority had failed to deal with the critical issue of whether she could have afforded to remain in the property as a sole proprietor when she agreed to transfer her property rights.

Doncaster MBC v AC &Ors [2013] EWHC 45 (QB)
It was appropriate to grant an injunction to remove travellers from a site which they owned and had occupied without planning permission for three-and-a-half years. There was a real risk that the planning system and criminal law would be brought into serious disrepute if such a remedy was held to be disproportionate because of the interference with the travellers' rights under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.8 or their children's rights.