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 court order which required the applicant to leave the house, which he did. But he returned to the house a few days later and, it was alleged, assaulted her. She applied to the local authority to be re-housed on grounds of domestic violence, and was allocated another house under the local authority’s domestic violence policy. The applicant returned to the house and renovated it, but he found that it was too big for him to live in on his own. So he applied for an exchange of accommodation with another tenant of the local authority. His wife supported his application, but the local authority asked her to terminate the joint tenancy by signing a notice to quit. She was not told that this would extinguish the applicant’s right to live in the house or exchange it for another local authority property. The applicant’s wife sought to withdraw the notice, but it remained effective in law to terminate the joint tenancy. It deprived the applicant of the protection he had enjoyed under the statute and expose him to the common law. In the result he had no defence to the notice to vacate which was served on him by the local authority. He sought to defend the possession proceedings on article 8 grounds:
Held: No hearing on the merits was required. The interference with the applicant’s article 8 right was in accordance with the law and that it pursued a legitimate aim. The question was whether it was proportionate to the aim pursued and thus necessary in a democratic society. It rejected the government’s argument that the reasoning in Connors was to be confined only to cases involving the eviction of gipsies or cases where the applicant sought to challenge the law itself rather than its application in his particular case. The local authority had chosen to bypass the statutory scheme by requesting the applicant’s wife to sign a common law notice to quit, and in doing so it had not considered the applicant’s right to respect for his home. The Article 8 procedural safeguards for the assessment of the proportionality of the interference were not met by the possibility for the applicant to apply for judicial review.
‘The loss of one’s home is the most extreme form of interference with the right for respect for the home. Any person at risk of an interference of this magnitude should in principle be able to have the proportionality of the measure determined by an independent tribunal in the light of the relevant principles under [article 8], notwithstanding that, under domestic law, his right of occupation has come to an end.’

19009/04, [2008] ECHR 385, Times 23-May-2008, [2008] BLGR 474, [2008] 20 EG 136, [2008] 2 FLR 899, [2008] Fam Law 729, [2008] 28 EG 114, [2009] L and TR 4, [2009] 1 FCR 390, [2008] HLR 40, [2008] 2 EGLR 45, (2008) 47 EHRR 40
European Convention on Human Rights, Housing Act 1985 82
Human Rights
Appeal fromBradney, Birmingham City Council v Birmingham City Council, McCann CA 9-Dec-2003
Birmingham Council had granted H and W a joint secure tenancy of a three-bedroom home. The marriage broke down and W left with the two children. She obtained a non-molestation order and an ouster order against him. H tried to force his way into the . .

Cited by:
CitedDoherty 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 . .
CitedForcelux Ltd v Binnie CA 21-Oct-2009
Forcelux and Mr Binnie were the landlord and tenant of a flat in Lincoln. Under the lease, the tenant was obliged to pay ground rent and other charges. The lease contained a forfeiture provision in the event of non-payment of rent or charges. Mr . .
CitedBirmingham City Council v Qasim and Others CA 20-Oct-2009
The council argued that the defendant was not a tenant granted to him as a secure tenancy since he had not been granted the tenancy in accordance with its policies. An employee had manipulated the Council’s system to grant tenancies to bypass the . .
CitedCoombes, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Another Admn 8-Mar-2010
The landlord council brought proceedings for possession. The tenant (C) had remained in possession after his mother’s death, but enjoyed no second statutory succession. He had lived there since 1954 when he was six. C sought a declaration of . .
CitedDonegan v Dublin City Council and Others 8-May-2008
(High Court of Ireland) The council had sought possession of its tenant. The agreement contained a clause allowing the council to terminate on four-weeks’ notice. It said the tenant’s son misused drugs. Section 62 of the Housing Act 1966 established . .
CitedDublin City Council v Gallagher 11-Nov-2008
(High Court of Ireland) The defendant’s son claimed that he sought to succeed to a tenancy on his mother’s death. The council rejected the claim and served him with proceedings under Section 62 of the Housing Act 1966 to recover possession. The . .
CitedCosic 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 . .
CitedPaulic v Croatia ECHR 22-Oct-2009
The State re-acquired a former Yugoslavian Army flat and brought a civil action seeking the applicant’s eviction on the basis that he never obtained a specially protected tenancy under domestic law. The Croatian court ordered his eviction.
CitedManchester City Council v Pinnock SC 9-Feb-2011
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 . . .
CitedMcDonald 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. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Housing

Leading Case

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.267642