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By Dave
22/09/2009

Welcome to the High Court …

Welcome, Kenneth Parker QC, to the High Court.  In a case which has more of the surreal about it, Kenneth Parker QC, sitting then as a Deputy Judge, had to decide whether to grant leave to a litigant in person to challenge Octavia Housing and Care’s allocations policy as it applied to that particular litigant in person (who did not challenge the lawfulness of Octavia’s lettings policy [and by extension, Locata, the West London sub-regional CBL scheme to which Octavia Hill subscribes]): R(Fidelis-Auma) v Octavia Housing and Care [2009] EWHC 2263 (Admin). Ms Fidelis-Auma wanted to transfer to one of three other flats in the same block as she was currently occupying. She applied for a transfer in those terms and, to cut a short story shorter, on the basis of medical priority and nuisance/ASB. She was placed in the lowest band for a transfer. One of the three properties did become available and was advertised through Locata. Ms Fidelis-Auma did not bid for it. It was let to somebody in the top band. This was the decision that Ms Fidelis-Auma sought to challenge. In essence, it seems that her claim was that she should have been allocated the property through a direct offer (although such offers did not apply to her).

So, scroll back: there was no challenge to the lawfulness of the scheme; Ms Fidelis-Auma had been given information about the scheme and had not bid for that flat; the relevant flat had been offered in accordance with the scheme; the new occupier had an assured tenancy of the flat with security of tenure. In sum, this was a claim that was bound to fail and was, as the Deputy Judge put it, “academic” in any event. The only interest lies in the following (oddly incorrect) comment of the Deputy Judge (who, bearing in mind his academic public law credentials, perhaps should have known better): “… in my judgment this is a case in which Octavia is not acting as a functional public authority when considering transfer applications from its own tenants. Therefore this case lacks a public law element sufficient to make the decision amenable to judicial review.” It is true that Ms Fidelia-Auma had joined the new occupant of the flat as second Defendant, but has the Deputy Judge not heard of Weaver (links to our note for the Deputy Judge’s use)?  Or am I going mad(-der) myself (always more than a possibility)?

Costs for Octavia, and Ms Fidelia-Auma was that close to getting a limited civil restraint order against her.

Posted in: Allocation

1 Comment

  1. NL

    And it was a renewed application for permission, to boot, having already been firmly rejected once…

    Reply

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