Sheffield City Council v Wall (Personal Representatives of) and Others: CA 30 Jul 2010

The claimant had been a foster son and was now the administrator of the estate of the deceased tenant. He sought to occupy the property as a successor under the 1985 Act. He said that as a former foster child, he had become a member of the deceased’s family and the 1985 should be read to reflect that.
Held: The appeal failed. Ward LJ said: ‘the words ‘a person is a member of another’s family within the meaning of this Part if . . ‘ are to be construed to mean that he is only a member of the family if he can bring himself within its ambit. Thus ‘child’ must be limited to the closed categories stipulated in section 113(2), namely blood relationships, step children and illegitimate children. When Parliament wished to extend the meaning to cover de facto relationships, it did so expressly, for example, by defining ‘spouse or civil partner’ to include those who live together as husband and wife or as if they were civil partners. Absent such amplification there is in our judgment no room for extending the meaning of a ‘child’ to cover a foster child. This definition of the terms distinguishes the Housing Act cases from the Rent Act cases and the flexibility afforded by Fitzpatrick does not apply in this case.’ and ‘ the exclusion of foster children is objectively justified. It follows that the legislation is compatible with Mr Wall’s Convention rights and there is, in those circumstances, no need to extend the ordinary and natural meaning of the words of the statute.’


Ward, Etherton, Sullivan LJJ


[2010] EWCA Civ 922, [2010] HLR 47




Housing Act 1985 87, Human Rights Act 1998 8


England and Wales


CitedCarter v SU Carburetter Co CA 1942
A statutory tenancy is not an estate in land but a mere ‘personal right of occupation’ and is unassignable. . .
CitedBrock v Wollams CA 1949
A child had been adopted in fact and lived with the tenant for many years, but had not been formally adopted under the Act claimed to inherit the tenancy on his death.
Held: He was to be considered to be a member of the former tenant’s family . .
DistinguishedFitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association Ltd HL 28-Oct-1999
Same Sex Paartner to Inherit as Family Member
The claimant had lived with the original tenant in a stable and long standing homosexual relationship at the deceased’s flat. After the tenant’s death he sought a statutory tenancy as a spouse of the deceased. The Act had been extended to include as . .
CitedMichalak v London Borough of Wandsworth CA 6-Mar-2002
The appellant had occupied for a long time a room in a house let by the authority. After the death of the tenant, the appellant sought, but was refused, a statutory tenancy. He claimed to be a member of the tenant’s family, and that the list of . .
ApprovedRegina (Gangera) v London Borough of Hounslow Admn 2003
The claimant challenged the Act as being an unlawful discrimination.
Held: The 1985 Act in allowing only one succession to a secure tenancy found a proper balance between the needs of the tenant’s family and the duty of a local housing . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Housing, Human Rights

Updated: 22 August 2022; Ref: scu.421208