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Significant Court of Appeal decision concerning the Equality Act 2010, proportionality and warrant suspension applications

This morning the Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in the case of Paragon Asra Housing Limited v. James Neville [2018] EWCA Civ 1712.

It is a judgment of significance to all social housing practitioners facing warrant suspension applications by tenants who raise arguments of disability discrimination.

There are two important principles arising from the Judgment of Sir Colin Rimer (with whom Lord Justice Simon and Lady Justice Asplin agreed):

  • Where, on making a suspended possession order, the circumstances are such that it can be inferred that the Court found that the Order is not discriminatory against a disabled defendant, the court can also be taken to hold that the enforcement of the order in accordance with its terms will also not be discriminatory absent a material change in circumstances.
  • Even if a Judge has not demonstrated explicit consideration of the question of proportionality in the four-fold structured manner highlighted in Akerman-Livingstone v Aster Community Housing Limited [2015] 2 WLR 721, the Court will consider whether the question of proportionality has been considered in substance. The present case was an example of where it was clear from their Judgment that the District Judge had, in substance, considered whether the enforcement of the order was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Ryan Kohli represented the successful Appellant, Paragon Asra Housing Limited, instructed by Gavinder Ryait, Partner and Assistant Head of the Housing Management Department at Batchelors Solicitors.

You can read more extensively about the case here.