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18/09/2010

The bottled water of principle

There is an interesting interview with Baroness Hale of the Supreme Court on the UKSC blog, (also reposted on the Guardian Law site, which has been really rather good since launch).

Lady HaleIt is well worth a read, not only for Lady Hale fighting for the separation of the Supreme Court from Government by insisting on bottled water in the canteen in the face of MoJ policy, but for her views on the operation of the Supreme Court. There is much of interest on diversity on the bench and in the SC, and, for housing lawyers, particularly on the question of socio-economic ‘positive rights’, where she sees a mismatch between Europe and home grown human rights positions. On Article 8 and housing:

in respect of article 8 and social housing, if a public authority has an obligation not to evict a tenant if this would be a disproportionate interference with his right to respect for his home, this might begin to look like a positive right to a home, although Strasburg might never say that.

Whether or not this might be an indication of Baroness Hale’s (and indeed the Supreme Court’s) thinking on Pinnock and the expected ECtHR decision in Kay is anyone’s guess. Though it might be somewhat impertinent, my view would be that Lady Hale may be making a leap in seeing the prospect of a ‘right to a home’ in a proportionality review of a decision to seek eviction, where perhaps the right would actually be not to have a home removed from one unless this was a proportionate means to an end.

I can’t see a ‘right to a home’ in the train of ECtHR decisions so far. But I am but a solicitor and share only a state eduction with the Baroness.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

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