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Disputed facts, s.204 appeals and Article 6 to the ECtHR?


You may recall Ms Ali of Ali & Ibrahim v Birmingham CC (heard in the Supreme Court as Tomlinson & Ors v Birmingham City Council [2010] UKSC 8 (our report here)

The issue in Ms Ali’s case was a dispute of fact about whether an offer of accommodation letter containing a warning of discharge of duty on refusal had been received by Ms Ali. The case went to the Supreme Court on whether s.204 appeals should have a fact finding jurisdiction, and whether the lack of it was a breach of Article 6. The key question was whether the right to accommodation under s.193 was a civil right such that discharge of the duty was determination of a civil right for the purposes of Article 6. The Supreme Court said it wasn’t.

Now it appears that the European Court of Human Rights is preparing to engage with the question. In ALI v. THE UNITED KINGDOM< – 40378/10 – HECOM [2012] ECHR 1969, the ECtHR poses questions to the parties:

1. Did the determination of the rights and/or entitlements of the applicant in respect of the “main housing duty” owed to her by Birmingham City Council involve the determination of a “civil right” within the meaning of Article 6 § 1?

2. If so, did the determination of the applicant’s civil rights satisfy the requirement of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention?

So, we shall – eventually – see…

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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