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News

The Editor speaks

26.09.2018

Newsletter news

Things are changing, both with regard to this Newsletter and (possibly) the wider social housing world. In respect of the former, one has become two and Tara has been persuaded to join Andy as a joint editor of the Newsletter.

This issue continues the 'theme' approach, this one focusing on public law issues in housing with some excellent articles on allocation policies (and Article 8), the public sector equality duty in a homelessness context and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

Team news

We are so happy to welcome Riccardo Calzavara to the Team and you will see from this issue that he has already thrown himself into things at Cornerstone. Hopefully, some of you will be able to meet Riccardo along with the rest of the Team at our Annual Housing Day on Tuesday, 2 October 2018. For someone of his call, he has appeared in a remarkable number of higher court cases, including against his new colleagues (including us!).

We are also delighted to welcome Dr Alex Williams and Dr Sam Fowles to Chambers upon successful completion of pupillage. They have excelled during that time and just as importantly have shown themselves to be a positive, friendly and encouraging addition to chambers' life.

Team activity

You will see from the Housing Cases report and the articles in this issue that members of Chambers have been involved in some very interesting cases since the last Newsletter in April. These have included claims concerning the public sector equality duty in housing possession cases at the warrant stage; the lawfulness of the practice of some social landlords in issuing fresh rent arrears possession claims when an earlier one is more than 6 years old; and the first High Court challenges to the lawfulness of PSPOs, which dealt with dog walking and 'buffer zones' outside abortion clinics.

The Team's training and advisory work also continues apace, not least with regard to Grenfell, and also following the introduction of the GDPR in May 2018.

National picture

The 'fall-out' from the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 will inevitably attract newspaper coverage in the months to come, alongside continuing concerns as to the incidence of rough sleeping.

Many housing commentators would point to insufficient housing supply and (un)affordability as two of the primary causes of the ongoing national housing crisis. To what extent that is addressed in this year's long-awaited Social Housing Green Paper is a moot point, focusing as it did on sector performance and real tenant input and oversight.

It did though continue the trend to start 'dropping' certain Coalition housing policies by confirming that the voluntary right to buy would not be funded by the sale of higher value local authority stock, and abandoning the planned introduction of obligatory fixed term tenancies (a reverse that was emphasised even more recently by the London & Quadrant Housing Trust's announcement that it would be reverting to periodic tenancies, away from the fixed-term model).

The Prime Minister certainly got a better reception from the National Housing Federation conference earlier this month than she did from her peers in the European Union, and the mood music from the former was encouragingly pro-social housing, in particular with respect to the housing association movement.

As always, enjoy the read!