We last produced a Housing newsletter in May 2020. That was the time of the first pandemic lockdown, and we are now in the third one with many of you therefore reading this whilst working from home. It has not been an easy time for any of us, and adaptations to ways of working have been inevitable. With the ongoing vaccination programme it is hoped that an “end is in sight” even if things will never be quite as they were before March 2020. We wish all our readers and their families well, and have tried as a chambers to respond as best we can to our clients needs to ensure our quality of service is maintained.
That we have been able to do so is in no small part due to our wonderful staff led by the brilliant Clare Bello and Elliot Langdorf. We retained our top ranking for Social Housing in Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 in October 2020 and should also give specific congratulations to Dr Sam Fowles (nomination for Young Pro-bono Barrister of the year) and Kuljit Bhogal (appointment as a Recorder of the Crown Court).
One of the ways we have sought to maintain our service is by the production of webinars. We started on 22 April 2020 with “Litigation in lockdown: the housing cases receiving pandemic priority”. Ten further Housing webinars followed in addition to a Housing week from 5-9 October 2020 when a webinar was held on each of the 5 days. There is likely to be little let up in the Team’s activity on this front in 2021, with the first one having already been held on 16 February, and a formal programme for the year has now been produced. All of this is in addition to members of the Team also contributing to other organisations’ webinars and information being disseminated through our social media accounts, including Twitter (@CstoneHousing).
On the Court front, remote hearings may now be the default option but we have never been busier if less travelled. The cases undertaken by members of the Team have ranged from the county court through to the Supreme Court. The latter, of course, was the Part 6 allocation case of R (on the application of Z and another) v Hackney London Borough Council and another  UKSC 40 where Matt Hutchings QC and Andy Lane acted for the successful authority. Most recently we have just had the hand down of the judgment in Croydon LBC v Kalonga in which Kelvin Rutledge QC and Riccardo Calzavara acted for the authority.
This newsletter includes a diverse range of articles from across the Team – data sharing, the ongoing issues surrounding the PSED, allocation schemes and residency requirements, the position of EU citizens in homelessness law post Brexit, the effect of statutory (homelessness) review decision and ensuring tenancies are properly determined following the death of the tenant. In addition you will have a housing case-law update.
We couldn’t end the editorial without recording the tragic news of the deaths of two barristers who were hugely respected by us all. In October 2020 we learnt of the sad death of the eminent and universally admired public law barrister, Stephen Knafler QC, shortly after his move to Doughty Street Chambers. Then in January 2021 the death of the popular and impressive housing barrister at Three Dr Johnson’s Buildings, Brendan Mullee, was reported. Our condolences and sympathy go to their families.
Finally, we would like to introduce you to three new members of the Team who have joined since the last newsletter – Matthew Feldman and, upon the completion of their pupillages, Olivia Davies and Dr Christina Lienen. Welcome all!
That simply leaves us to say…enjoy the read!
Tara & Andy