4-5 Gray's Inn Square's members are sought out in the most complex and impactful cases shaping the social housing sphere. Their expertise spans the entire ambit of housing law issues, including homelessness and allocation schemes, disrepair and dilapidations, housing benefit and welfare reform, and fraud. The set has been playing a key role in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, with members representing the bereaved, survivors and residents. On a related note, they also provide regulatory advice to other local authorities, particularly in relation to the use of cladding in residential buildings. One of the many highly regarded practitioners at the chambers is Christopher Baker, who is representing Agudas Israel Housing Association in R (Z) v Hackney LBC and Agudas Israel Housing Association; a case where it was alleged that the housing association was unlawfully discriminating in favour of Orthodox Jewish people. Also of note, Jonathan Manning acted for the respondent local authority at the Supreme Court in Samuels v Birmingham City Council.
Social housing in London Bar
Cornerstone Barristers has an outstanding track record representing housing associations and local authorities in groundbreaking cases that often involve an interplay between housing law and related areas, such as the Children Act, immigration rights, adult social care, among others. In 2019, Kelvin Rutledge QC and Andrew Lane represented the local authority at the Court of Appeal in R(Gullu) v London Borough of Hillingdon, which was a test case involving a challenge to Hillingdon's ten-year residency requirement in order to join its housing waiting list. Also notable was that Ranjit Bhose QC and Ruchi Parekh represented circa 20 local housing authorities (through the Local Government Association) at the High Court in RB Kingston-upon-Thames v Moss, which was a water re-selling test case the implications of which could mean that many housing associations and local authorities have to reimburse tenants for overcharges for the supply of water; the matter is now pending before the Court of Appeal.
Doughty Street Chambers has a first-rate reputation acting for individuals (including tenants and homelessness applicants) in many of the leading cases seen in the social housing arena. It has a strong presence in housing cases that interface with issues such as mental health, physical disability, immigration, community care and public law, among others. In 2019, Martin Westgate QC represented Shelter an intervening party at the Supreme Court in R (DA & others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and DS v SSWP, which involved linked challenges to the revised, lower benefit cap. In another matter, Westgate QC acted for Shelter and Child Poverty Action Group in Samuels v Birmingham City Council, which was a homelessness appeal regarding whether a person can be intentionally homeless if they lose their home through non-payment of rent when they cannot pay their rent without using subsistence benefits. Ben Chataway successfully represented the defendant in Waltham Forest LBC v Saleh, which concerned a local authority's obligations where it sought to house a homelessness applicant outside of its own district.
Garden Court Chambers is well-known for its ethos of promoting social justice and standing up for the interests of the most vulnerable individuals in society. Fielding a 27-strong team of advocates, the set has a strong track record in landmark social housing cases, where it acts for homelessness applicants, tenants and occupiers. It has expertise in the full range of housing law cases, including those concerning homelessness, allocation of social housing, the licensing of houses in multiple occupation, welfare benefits and anti-social behaviour. In 2019, highlights included Liz Davies acting as the leading counsel to the appellant in the Court of Appeal case of Adesotu v Lewisham LBC, where it was alleged that the respondent had discriminated against her on the basis of her disability in the manner that it had handled an offer of accommodation made under its main housing duty. Another notable matter involved Tim Baldwin representing the defendant in London Borough of Hackney v Yavuz Yildiz; this was a Court of Appeal case, which defined the law on succession and recovery of possession. Rising star Nick Bano recently joined from 1MCB.
Five Paper's barristers are regularly instructed in cases that are creating new precedents in the social housing arena. Its members are instructed by regional and national law firms, local authorities, registered housing providers, landlords and individuals. Highly regarded individuals at the set include Nicholas Grundy QC, who made a number of appearances at the Court of Appeal in 2019, which included acting for Aldwyck Housing Association in Aldwyck HA v Forward; in this case, it was held that the housing association's failure to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) was not fatal to a possession claim because the outcome of the claim would have been the same even if the PSED had been complied with. Another highlight saw Grundy QC represent the respondent local housing authority in Simawi v London Borough of Haringey, which concerned the application of the single succession rule in secure council tenancies (as governed by the Housing Act 1985). Stephen Evans is experienced in cases concerning disability discrimination/equality issues, fire safety, homelessness and dilapidations, among other areas.
42 Bedford Row's team is strong across all the main areas of housing law, including cases involving homelessness, possession claims, unlawful evictions, disrepair and service charges. It is particularly sought out in housing cases that interface with serious allegations of anti-social behaviour, as well as family law issues. The highly regarded team includes Mathew McDermott, who acted for the applicant in R (Laryea) v London Borough of Ealing; this is one of the few reported cases to deal with the provisions of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. In addition to representing individuals, members also act for local authorities, housing associations and registered landlords, among others. In addition to her practice, Naomi Hawkes is praised for the 'excellent training' she provides to clients. With his 'wealth of knowledge and experience', Desmond Kilcoyne and 'fearless advocate' Iris Ferber are also worthy of note.
Gatehouse Chambers has benefited from the consolidation in the social housing sector, which has seen a large number of housing associations merge to form 'super' housing associations. With the set having strong capabilities in real estate litigation and construction, its members are increasingly sought out to advise these entities on a broad cross-section of issues beyond those specific to the management of social housing tenancies. On the social housing management side, Morayo Fagborun Bennett acted for Peabody Trust in a possession claim, which had been defended on the basis that the occupier had paid an unprotected deposit to a fraudulent former employee of the housing association. Optivo, London & Quadrant and A2 Dominion also turn to the set for advice, while members also act for local authorities and tenants. Alison Meacher represented Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council at the Court of Appeal in a significant bedroom tax test case against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Field Court Chambers
Field Court Chambers demonstrates strong capabilities across all areas of housing law, including possession and eviction cases, homelessness, allocations, tenancy fraud, service charges and anti-social behaviour. The practice is notably strong in housing cases that have an interplay with community care, human rights, EU law and social services law. The team of highly-reputed barristers includes Adrian Davis, who represented the local authority at the Court of Appeal in Yildiz v London Borough of Hackney; in this case, it was held that a court does not have an overarching discretion to dispense with notice seeking possession if the strict requirements of Ground 15A, Schedule 2, Housing Act 1985 are not met. In addition to acting for local authorities, the set also represents housing associations, registered social landlords and individuals. Davis co-heads the housing team with Emma Godfrey, who has over 20 years of experience in the social housing arena.
Landmark Chambers' members have a strong track record appearing in many of the seminal cases shaping the social housing landscape. It is widely seen as a strong choice in high-profile and complex matters, as is evidenced by its work for individuals, local authorities and housing associations, among others. Practitioners are called upon to advise on matters involving an interplay between housing and related areas, such as planning, mental health and capacity, public law, human rights and equality. In one notable matter, Justin Bates represented the Equality and Human Rights Commission at the Court of Appeal in Adesotu v LB Lewisham, where it was held that a homeless person cannot raise alleged breaches of the Equality Act 2010 in a homelessness appeal before a county court judge.