Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal in Paragon v Neville

20 Mar 2019

Housing, Local Government, Public Law and Judicial Review

Yesterday the Supreme Court refused Mr Neville’s application for permission to appeal in the case of Paragon Asra Housing Limited v James Neville [2018] EWCA Civ 1712.

In refusing the application the Supreme Court (Lady Hale, Lord Hodge and Lord Briggs) held that Mr Neville’s application did not raise an arguable point of law and even if it did this case would not be the right case in which to decide it.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal is 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):

1. 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; and

2. 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 her 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 of Cornerstone Barristers represented Paragon Asra Housing Ltd before the Court of Appeal and in submissions to the Supreme Court. He was instructed by Gavinder Ryait, Partner and Assistant Head of the Housing Management Department at Bachelors Solicitors.