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Regina (CN) v Lewisham London Borough

The SC decisions in Manchester City Council v Pinnock [2011] 2 AC 104 and Hounslow London Borough Council v Powell [2011] 2 AC 186 have had far reaching ramifications in standard possession proceedings,

...but how have those decisions affected the eviction of homeless applicants accommodated pending inquiries under s.188(1) and s.190(2) of the Housing Act 1996?The CA considered the above question in an appeal bought by CN and ZH against the decision of Phillip Mott QC. The learned Judge dismissed the claimants’ claims for judicial review of decisions by the local housing authorities to terminate the provision of accommodation to the claimants and their families without commencing proceedings for possession orders.

Prior to Pinnock and Powell the case law seemed settled. In the case of Mohammed v Manek and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (1995) 27 HLR 439 the CA held that under s.3(2B) of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 the expression "occupied as a dwelling under a licence" did not apply to temporary accommodation provided to an applicant for assistance on the basis of homelessness pursuant to an authority's interim duty to house such an applicant while they make further inquiries. An authority did not have to make an application for an order for possession in such cases.

In the later case of Desnousse v Newham London Borough Council [2006] EWCA Civ 547 the CA held that this reading of the 1977 act was not inconsistent with the rights of an occupier under the ECHR.

The Claimant’s on appeal contended that the cases of Manek and Desnousse could no longer stand in light of Pinnock and Powell.

Kitchen LJ, dismissing the appeal, held that Pinnock and Powell had no effect on the current position. The issue of proportionality raised by Pinnock need only be considered if raised in the proceedings by or on behalf of the occupier. Therefore although Pinnock is now often referred to in standard possession claims in the county court it seems this is an area of law that remains unchanged.

Vaughan Jacob / 1st Aug 2013


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