On appeal from: [2009] EWCA Civ 852

Concerned whether EHCR, art 8 requires UK courts to consider the proportionality of evicting an occupier from his home in claims for possession by local authorities and, if so, whether the demoted tenancy regime in the Housing Acts 1985 and 1996 can properly be interpreted so as to comply with the requirements of art 8. Held: unanimously dismissing the appeal. In light of the clear and constant line of jurisprudence of the ECtHR, the Court departed from the previous line of the House of Lords authorities and concluded that a court, which is asked by a local authority to make an order for possession of a person’s home, must have the power to assess the proportionality of making the order and, in making that assessment, to resolve any factual disputes between the parties. The Court went on to conclude that it was possible to read and give effect to s 143D(2) of the 1996 Act (possession proceedings requesting a court to end a demoted tenancy) in a way that would permit the court to review the proportionality of a landlord’s decision to seek possession and, if necessary, to make its own assessment of facts in dispute. In particular, he concluded that, by virtue of the Human Rights Act 1998, s 7(1), County Court judges have the necessary jurisdiction to carry out the art 8 proportionality review. It therefore followed that the demoted tenancy regime was compatible with the Convention. The possession order was proportionate in this instance.

For judgment, please download: [2010] UKSC 45
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