The council tenant had wished to appeal following a possession order made after her tenancy had been demoted. The court handed down a supplemental judgment to give effect to its earlier decision. The Court had been asked ‘whether article 8 of the . . Convention . . requires a court, which is being asked to make an order for possession under section 143D(2) of the  Act against a person occupying premises under a demoted tenancy, to have the power to consider whether the order would be ‘necessary in a democratic society’ and, if so, whether section 143D(2) is compatible with article 8 of the Convention’
Held: Though in this case, the decision stood, the answers were ‘Yes’, and section 143 of the 1985 Act could be read down to achieve this. ‘if our law is to be compatible with article 8, where a court is asked to make an order for possession of a person’s home at the suit of a local authority, the court must have the power to assess the proportionality of making the order, and, in making that assessment, to resolve any relevant dispute of fact.’
However: ‘in virtually every case where a residential occupier has no contractual or statutory protection, and the local authority is entitled to possession as a matter of domestic law, there will be a very strong case for saying that making an order for possession would be proportionate. However, in some cases there may be factors which would tell the other way.’
Where it is required in order to give effect to an occupier’s article 8 Convention rights, the court’s powers of review can, in an appropriate case, extend to reconsidering for itself the facts found by a local authority, or indeed to considering facts which have arisen since the issue of proceedings, by hearing evidence and forming its own view . . if the procedure laid down in section 143E or 143F has not been lawfully complied with, either because the express requirements of that section have not been observed or because the rules of natural justice have been infringed, the tenant should be able to raise that as a defence to a possession claim under section 143D(2).
The court set out the principles it had derived from the case law: ‘(a) Any person at risk of being dispossessed of his home at the suit of a local authority should in principle have the right to raise the question of the proportionality of the measure, and to have it determined by an independent tribunal in the light of article 8, even if his right of occupation under domestic law has come to an end . .
(b) A judicial procedure which is limited to addressing the proportionality of the measure through the medium of traditional judicial review (i e, one which does not permit the court to make its own assessment of the facts in an appropriate case) is inadequate as it is not appropriate for resolving sensitive factual issues . .
(c) Where the measure includes proceedings involving more than one stage, it is the proceedings as a whole which must be considered in order to see if article 8 has been complied with . .
(d) If the court concludes that it would be disproportionate to evict a person from his home notwithstanding the fact that he has no domestic right to remain there, it would be unlawful to evict him so long as the conclusion obtains – for example, for a specified period, or until a specified event occurs, or a particular condition is satisfied.’
Lord Neuberger summarised the court’s obligations to follow European Court judgments: ‘This court is not bound to follow every decision of the European court. Not only would it be impractical to do so: it would sometimes be inappropriate, as it would destroy the ability of the court to engage in the constructive dialogue with the European court which is of value to the development of Convention law: see e g R v Horncastle  2 AC 373. Of course, we should usually follow a clear and constant line of decisions by the European court: R (Ullah) v Special Adjudicator  2 AC 323. But we are not actually bound to do so or (in theory, at least) to follow a decision of the Grand Chamber. As Lord Mance pointed out in Doherty v Birmingham City Council  AC 367, para 126, section 2 of the 1998 Act requires our courts to ‘take into account’ European court decisions, not necessarily to follow them. Where, however, there is a clear and constant line of decisions whose effect is not inconsistent with some fundamental substantive or procedural aspect of our law, and whose reasoning does not appear to overlook or misunderstand some argument or point of principle, we consider that it would be wrong for this court not to follow that line.’
Lord Phillips, President, Lord Hope, Deputy President, Lord Rodger, Lord Walker, Lady Hale, Lord Brown, Lord Mance, Lord Neuberger, Lord Collins
 UKSC 6,  2 All ER 586,  NPC 16,  2 WLR 220, UKSC 2009/0180,  2 AC 104
Bailii, SC Summary, SC
Housing Act 1985 84 143, Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, Housing Act 1980, European Convention on Human Rights 8, Housing Act 1996
England and Wales
See Also – Manchester City Council v Pinnock SC 3-Nov-2010
The tenant had been secure but had his tenancy had been reduced to an insecure demoted tenancy after he was accused of anti-social behaviour. He had not himself been accused of any misbehaviour, but it was said that he should have controlled his . .
Appeal from – Manchester City Council v Pinnock CA 31-Jul-2009
The court considered the status in law of ‘demoted tenants’, those who had been secure social housing tenants, but who had only limited security after being found to have behaved anti-socially. The tenant had been refused an opportunity by the . .
Cited – Zehentner v Austria ECHR 16-Jul-2009
ECHR The applicant’s apartment was subject to a judicial sale for non-payment of debt. She was ill, and did not participate in the sale. The local law had time limits for challenging a judicial sale, designed to . .
Cited – Connors v The United Kingdom ECHR 27-May-2004
The applicant gypsies had initially been permitted to locate their caravan on a piece of land owned by a local authority, but their right of occupation was brought to an end because the local authority considered that they were committing a . .
Cited – Kay And Others v United Kingdom ECHR 21-Sep-2010
(Fourth Section) After carefully considering the various views expressed in the House of Lords in Kay v Lambeth  2 AC 465 and Doherty v Birmingham  1 AC 367, and the relevant decisions of the Court of Appeal, the EurCtHR stated, at paras . .
Cited – London Borough of Harrow v Qazi HL 31-Jul-2003
The applicant had held a joint tenancy of the respondent. His partner gave notice and left, and the property was taken into possession. The claimant claimed restoration of his tenancy saying the order did not respect his right to a private life and . .
Cited – Cosic v Croatia ECHR 15-Jan-2009
The applicant teacher was provided a flat by her school, which it in had leased from the Yugoslavian Army. That lease expired in 1990. She remained, paying rent to the school. Ultimately the Croatian State, which had assumed ownership of Yugoslavian . .
Cited – Doherty and others v Birmingham City Council HL 30-Jul-2008
The House was asked ‘whether a local authority can obtain a summary order for possession against an occupier of a site which it owns and has been used for many years as a gipsy and travellers’ caravan site. His licence to occupy the site has come to . .
Cited – Blecic v Croatia ECHR 29-Jul-2004
The applicant had for many years before 1992 had a protected tenancy of a publicly-owned flat in Zadar. Under Croatian law a specially-protected tenancy might be terminated if the tenant ceased to occupy the flat for a continuous period of six . .
Cited – McCann v The United Kingdom ECHR 13-May-2008
The applicant and his wife were secure joint tenants of a house of a local authority under section 82. Their marriage broke down, and the applicant’s wife moved out of the house with the two children of the marriage. She returned after obtaining a . .
Cited – Blecic v Croatia ECHR 8-Mar-2006
The applicant alleged that her rights to respect for her home and to peaceful enjoyment of her possessions had been violated on account of the termination of her specially protected tenancy.
Held: Ratione temporis, the court had had no . .
Cited – Kay and Another v London Borough of Lambeth and others; Leeds City Council v Price and others and others HL 8-Mar-2006
In each case the local authority sought to recover possession of its own land. In the Lambeth case, they asserted this right as against an overstaying former tenant, and in the Leeds case as against gypsies. In each case the occupiers said that the . .
Cited – Cumming v Danson CA 1942
The court considered what amounted to reasonable alternative accomodation.
Held: it was the judge’s duty to take into account all relevant circumstances as they exist at the date of the hearing. There is a fundamental difference in the Rent . .
Cited – Di Palma v United Kingdom ECHR 1-Dec-1986
(Commission/admissibility) The applicant’s lease was forfeited on her non-payment of a service charge and possession was ordered. Her primary claim was made (unsuccessfully) under article 1 of the First Protocol to the Convention. But she also . .
Cited – Salford City Council v Mullen CA 30-Mar-2010
The court considered the status of decisions to commence proceedings for possession by local authorities against tenants not protected under any statutory scheme. The tenants, on introductory tenancies and under the homelessness regime, argued that . .
Cited – Horncastle and Others, Regina v SC 9-Dec-2009
Each defendant said they had not received a fair trial in that the court had admitted written evidence of a witness he had not been allowed to challenge. The witnesses had been victims, two of whom had died before trial. It was suggested that the . .
Cited – Regina v Special Adjudicator ex parte Ullah; Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 17-Jun-2004
The applicants had had their requests for asylum refused. They complained that if they were removed from the UK, their article 3 rights would be infringed. If they were returned to Pakistan or Vietnam they would be persecuted for their religious . .
Cited – Wandsworth London Borough Council v Winder HL 1985
Rent demands were made by a local authority landlord on one of its tenants. The local authority, using its powers under the Act, resolved to increase rents generally. The tenant refused to pay the increased element of the rent. He argued that the . .
Cited – The Mayor Commonalty and Citizens of London v Samede (St Paul’s Churchyard Camp Representative) and Others CA 22-Feb-2012
The defendants sought to appeal against an order for them to vacate land outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London which they occupied as a protest.
Held: The application for leave to appeal failed. The only possible ground for appeal was on the . .
Cited – Sims v Dacorum Borough Council SC 12-Nov-2014
Surrender at Common Law Survives Human Rights Law
The tenants held a secure weekly tenancy of the respondent under a joint tenancy. After a relationship breakdown, Mrs Sims had given notice to quit. Mr Sims, left in possession now argued that the common law rules should not be allowed to deprive . .
Cited – Chester, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice SC 16-Oct-2013
The two applicants were serving life sentences for murder. Each sought damages for the unlawful withdrawal of their rights to vote in elections, and the failure of the British parliament to take steps to comply with the judgment.
Held: The . .
Cited – Moohan and Another v The Lord Advocate SC 17-Dec-2014
The petitioners, convicted serving prisoners, had sought judicial review of the refusal to allow them to vote in the Scottish Referendum on Independence. The request had been refused in the Outer and Inner Houses.
Held: (Kerr, Wilson JJSC . .
Cited – Haney and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v The Secretary of State for Justice SC 10-Dec-2014
The four claimants, each serving indeterminate prison sentences, said that as they approached the times when thy might apply for parol, they had been given insufficient support and training to meet the requirements for release. The courts below had . .
Cited – McDonald v McDonald and Others SC 15-Jun-2016
Her parents had bought a house and granted tenancies to their adult daughter (the appellant), who suffered a personality disorder. They became unable to repay the mortgage. Receivers were appointed but the appellant fell into arrears with the rent. . .
Cited – Watts v Stewart and Others CA 8-Dec-2016
The court considered the status of residents of almshouses, and in particular whether they were licensees or tenants with associated security.
Held: The occupier’s appeal failed: ‘We do not accept the proposition that, if and insofar as Mrs . .
Cited – Poshteh v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea SC 10-May-2017
The appellant, applying for housing as a homeless person, had rejected the final property offered on the basis that its resemblance to the conditions of incarceration in Iran, from which she had fled, would continue and indeed the mental . .
Cited – Kiarie and Byndloss, Regina (on The Applications of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 14-Jun-2017
The court considered a challenge to the rules governing ‘out of country’ appeals against immigration decisions. They had in each case convictions leading to prison terms for serious drugs related offences.
Held: The appeals were allowed, and . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 February 2021; Ref: scu.428517