On 8 June 2015 Hildyard J gave judgment in Southward Housing Co-operative Limited v Walker  EWHC 1615 (Ch) in relation to whether it is lawful to exclude tenants of fully mutual housing co-operatives from security of tenure under the Housing Acts 1985 and 1988.
In response to an application for an order for possession by the Claimant landlords, the Defendant tenants contended that their exclusion from security was contrary to the Human Rights Act 1998, constituting a breach of Article 8 ECHR (right to privacy), Article 14 ECHR (prohibition on discrimination) and Article 1 Protocol 1 ECHR (right to property). The Defendants also sought a declaration of incompatibility pursuant to s. 4 of the 1998 Act.
The Judge rejected these arguments. His judgment canvasses a number of important issues, including the test for determining the existence of a “protected characteristic” so as to engage the protections in Article 14, the approach to inherent limitations in contractual rights in the context of Article 1 of Protocol 1, and the correct approach to determining whether an entity is a public body for the purposes of s. 6 of the 1998 Act, and thus subject to the obligations in the Act.
The judgment is here.
Oliver Jones appeared (unled) for the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.