As you’ll all know, there has – for some time now – been rumblings about judicial review claims where RSLs/local authorities have decided to replace resident wardens (in sheltered housing schemes) with non-resident wardens. It appears that, on Monday (7.12.09), the High Court handed down judgment in R (Garbet) v Circle 33 Housing CO/891/2009, dealing with just such a matter.
The only reports that I can find of the case are in Inside Housing (the link isn’t working – see story dated Dec 10, 2009 entitled “Eastborne Homes acted unlawfully in warden case”) and You and Yours (Radio 4, here). Neither Bailii nor Lawtel return any information about the case, although Casetrack has confirmed that judgment was listed for Monday and gave me the reference for the case. If anyone has a transcript then we’d love to see a copy.
Radio 4 are reporting it as a huge story in the field of social housing, but, if the Inside Housing report is accurate, the it looks like Garbet is actually a bit of a damp squib. It appears that Mumby LJ held:
(a) that Circle 33 acted unlawfully in ending the resident warden service because the tenancy agreement between Circle 33 and Ms Garbet provided for consultation to take place prior to any such decision being taken;
(b) that it was, however, inappropriate to consider whether or not there was a public law issue here at all (presumably on the basis that JR is a remedy of last resort and, given (a), Ms Garbet has a private law remedy);
(c) that, even if this were a public law matter, he would refuse to grant any relief.
As ever, if readers have any more information about the case, please do share it with us! Otherwise, we’ll just have to wait for a transcript.
With thanks to a reader (you know who you are) for bringing this to our attention.