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Anthony Gold is 'quite simply one of the best housing firms in the market' and is, by some clients' reckoning, 'the very best in housing disrepair claims'. The department is headed by 'an absolute legend' in the housing space, Andrew Brookes, who is instructed by a group of tenants of a prominent London estate in relation to potential major disrepair claims in response to the Grenfell tragedy. The department is home to another 'undisputed expert of housing law', Giles Peaker, who defended a claim brought by a property guardian company concerning the termination of the clients' license to occupy. Additionally,  Sara Stephens represented an individual in connection with a homelessness application, which involved a contested determination of vulnerability. Also recommended are Eleanor Solomon, who represented individuals in homelessness claims, and Timothy Waitt, who acted for an estate resident in relation to a challenge of the council's failure to provide alternative accommodation following an evacuation for safety concerns. Other key contacts include Deirdre Forster and solicitor Jenny Evans.

'By any standard', Bindmans LLP is one of the market's 'top firms acting for tenants and tenant associations' in the social housing market. The team's work this year has been dominated by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Indeed, Paul Ridge, who is 'incredibly bright, practical and incisive', is representing 186 people in the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry, and is also advising Lancaster West Residents Association and Silchester Residents Association, which are the two largest residents associations in the area surrounding Grenfell Tower. Ridge also appeared in one of the largest Housing Benefit Tribunal cases in 2017. Another key figure in the team is Will Whitaker, who has particular expertise in negotiating re-housing schemes and tenancy terms with local authorities.

Deighton Pierce Glynn has 'a particularly strong reputation for identifying important test cases' involving homelessness and disrepair, and has extensive experience in immigration-related housing cases. Of particular note, Gareth Mitchell is acting in a High Court claim against a local housing authority regarding the landlord's service charges for water and sewage; this case has implications for 69 housing authorities, which could potentially face repayments of £300m. The team, which includes Polly Glynn and Sarah Ricca, has been involved in a re-housing claim that led to a change in government policy, and is also acting in a major public inquiry. Additional contacts include Sue Willman and solicitor Lorna Barron. Homelessness expert Sadaf Mir left the firm, but associate Edward Veale joined the team from Hodge Jones & Allen LLP.

Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors fields a 'modern, forward-thinking and innovative' team, which has 'emerged as one of the top performers in the housing market'. The team has particular expertise in representing vulnerable individuals in homelessness appeals and landlord and tenant disputes, and has also been instructed in large group litigation. In one stand-out matter, Jayesh Kunwardia acted for 57 residents in group litigation against Peabody concerning the cessation of gas supply to the Strawberry Vale Estate. Moreover, Daniel Fitzpatrick is representing 42 individuals in the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry. Other highlights included Farzana Chowdhury advising a secured tenant on a severe disrepair claim. Also recommended are Sophie Bell, who is 'particularly strong in complex Equality Act cases'; senior associate Siddiq Fazaluddin, 'a tenacious litigator with expertise in leasehold disputes'; and solicitor Hannah Britz, who has experience with homelessness appeals. Associate Edward Veale joined Deighton Pierce Glynn.

'One of the most effective firms practicing social housing law', Duncan Lewis Solicitors has considerable expertise in Equality Act defence cases, unlawful eviction and possession claims, and homelessness appeals. The team also handles a considerable amount of pro-bono work, which has recently included representing a number of individuals in homelessness claims following the Grenfell Tower disaster. Bernadette Chikwe represented an individual in possession proceedings arising out of the client's inability to assume tenancy due to her immigration status, and Dianne Cowie has experience with disrepair claims. Subbiah Sivapunniyam has been called 'a legend among housing lawyers', and James de Vere Moss is also 'very good'. Chinedu Orogbu joined the team from Thomas Dunton Solicitors, and Manjinder Kaur Atwal was promoted to director.

Headed by the  'absolutely brilliant'  William Ford, Osbornes' team is noted for its 'cross-practice expertise in areas such as housing and community care', which it brings to bear in disrepair, possession and homelessness cases involving vulnerable adults, individuals with language difficulties, the elderly and those with no recourse to public funds. Ford is acting in an ongoing judicial review concerning the lawfulness of a London borough's housing allocation scheme. Other key figures include, Shilpa Mathuradas, who has handled eviction and disrepair claims with community care aspects, and Edward Taylor, who was part of a team representing a client in a homelessness appeal which considered whether a potential residence in the client's native country is grounds for lawful denial of social housing assistance. Associate Manjit Mandair is also recommended.

'Conscientious, thorough and reliable', TV Edwards LLP is 'among the best firms handling legal aid housing cases'. Jointly headed by Katie Brown and Jacky Starling, the team has experience representing tenants in anti-social behaviour claims, possession proceedings and homelessness cases, including temporary accommodation suitability challenges. The department also has particular experience in representing vulnerable individuals. In one example, senior associate Amanda Ford, who is 'exceptional at anticipating issues before they arise', recently acted for a mentally disabled tenant in defence of a possession claim. Solicitor Jenny Mansell works with victims of domestic abuse in homelessness claims, and solicitor David Araya has represented vulnerable individuals in possession, disrepair and nuisance cases. Jane Pritchard left the firm for GT Stewart Limited.

Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates offers a multi-departmental service leveraging specialisms in housing, mental health, community care and family law, which makes the team 'particularly good at handling cases involving extremely vulnerable individuals and tenants with complex needs'. Department head Keith Clarke is 'truly outstanding' and has expertise in housing litigation and mental capacity law; Clarke represented a teenage individual in a homelessness proceeding, in which an initial application was made before the client turned 18, but was not granted appropriate accommodation pursuant to the Housing Act. Also recommended are Michael Barrett, who has been involved in tenancy succession claims, Sepideh Ghaffari and Yalda Keshavarzi.

Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors is well-known for representing individuals and groups of tenants in statutory appeals concerning housing allocations and the bedroom tax, and also has experience with homelessness appeals and possession claims. The department is jointly headed by Rebekah Carrier and Lesley Curtis, the latter of whom is 'an indefatigable advocate for her clients'. Carrier specialises in judicial review proceedings, while Curtis has a broad housing litigation practice. Also recommended is senior solicitor Ann Bevington, who has particular experience in possession and illegal eviction cases involving discrimination defences.

The housing team at Philcox Gray & Co is headed by Rebecca Bahar, who has experience advising tenants in possession and illegal eviction claims, homelessness cases, housing allocation appeals, and judicial reviews. Alan Russell is a consultant in the department.

Russell-Cooke LLP has a team of 'assertive, experienced and thorough' lawyers, who have considerable experience in representing individuals and tenant management organisations in a variety of housing disputes and homelessness claims. The team is headed by Graham French, 'a long-established leader in the field', who has been involved in a litany of possession claims, and is also instructed by tenant management organisations including Loughborough Estate Management Board. Associate Caroline Brosnan has 'a record of success in homelessness appeals', and Jodie Green is known for her 'sensitive and respectful approach to the most challenging clients'. Associate Lauren Brown joined the team from W H Matthews & Co.

The team at Edwards Duthie acts across a range of social housing litigation including possessions, disrepair and homelessness cases. Simon Mullings is 'particularly recommended', and has experience in High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court litigation. Other names to note are James Harrison and Rebecca Manson.

GT Stewart Limited has maintained 'a commendable commitment to publicly funded work' and is 'very well-versed in housing litigation'. Jointly headed by Denise Phillips and Dirghayu Patel, the team is instructed in possession, eviction and nuisance claims and has also handled statutory appeals concerning issues such as housing benefit payments. Claire Wiles is 'incredibly hard-working' and recently defended a disabled individual in a possession claim, in which she invoked an Equality Act defence. Additional contacts include Simeon Wilmore and Jane Pritchard, the latter of whom joined from TV Edwards LLP.

Hockfield & Co Solicitors 'punches well above its weight in the social housing sector', where it provides 'clear and well-investigated advice' in sensitive disrepair claims and possession proceedings. Department head James Garvey is 'particularly impressive' and fas recently focused on service charge disputes. Michael McCrone, who is 'approachable and reliable', has been involved in a host of disrepair cases, and Sarah Mossop, who is 'among the most professional solicitors' in the field, recently represented an assured tenant in possession proceedings arising out of ongoing rent arrears. Also recommended is Lucy Jackson, who heads the civil litigation team.

Leeds-based Minton Morrill is instructed by travellers, vulnerable individuals and secured tenants in possession, disrepair and trespassing claims, and statutory appeals. Headed by Rhiannon Jones, the team has represented a client in judicial review proceedings concerning an authority's decision regarding the client's homelessness application. Further, Jones has represented a traveller with a history of mental health problems and domestic abuse in trespassing claims brought by a local authority. Nicola Birch is an active assistant in the team, Keith Coughtrie specialises in gypsy and traveller law, and Keith Lomax heads the social welfare group.

Morrison Spowart's housing team is led by Anne Spowart, who has experience acting for secured tenants and homeless individuals in a range of housing matters including evictions, disrepair claims, possession proceedings and homelessness applications. The team has also represented squatters and trespassers, and has been involved in judicial reviews.

Steel & Shamash is 'a very experienced firm in the social housing space' and is led by 'two leading practitioners in the field': Anna O’Connell and Chris Callender. O'Connell is regularly instructed by secured tenants and vulnerable individuals in possession claims arising out of anti-social behaviour and rent arrears, and also handled a judicial review proceeding concerning a decision to deny her client social housing on the basis of crimes committed as a juvenile. Callender has 'invaluable breadth of expertise in community care and public law', which is 'especially helpful when representing social housing tenants, many of whom require public law remedies rather than housing defences'.

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