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Ask nicely

By J

In R (Spaul) v Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (Lawtel note only, Admin Ct, 22.5.13 – wrongly noted as being the UT(Administrative Appeals Chamber) we have an odd little case. As you may know, cases in the LVT are appealed to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). You need permission to appeal. If the LVT grant permission to appeal, then all well and good. If the LVT refuses permission to appeal, then you have to ask the UT. If the UT refuses permission to appeal then there is no further right of appeal (see generally s.175, Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002; s.13, Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007). You can, however, judicially review the UT and seek an order compelling it to hear your appeal: R (Cart) v Upper Tribunal [2011] UKSC 28l. Those JR claims are, of their very nature, rarely likely to succeed since the courts are reluctant to second-guess decisions of specialist tribunals (see CPR 54.7A, in particular).

In Spaul there seems to have been two issues arising out of one point. In short, Mr S was the leaseholder of a flat. He said that he had not received various statutory notices (see s.20, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985) nor had he had proper notice of the landlord’s application to the LVT. The LVT rejected this and the UT refused permission to appeal.

The High Court dismissed his application for judicial review. Mr S was arguing that, had the UT properly considered the evidence, it would have been bound to grant permission to appeal. The High Court (at least, according to the note) was not impressed. The application for permission to appeal had been wholly unsatisfactory and had failed to set out why it was said that the LVT had erred. In short, the decision was one for the UT and there was no arguable basis for JR.

As ever with these Lawtel notes, you find yourself with the impression that there is rather more to this than the author of the note sees fit to tell you. If anyone involved in the case has more to say, we’d be grateful to hear it.

J is a barrister. He considers housing law to be the single greatest kind of law known to humankind and finds it very odd that so few people share this view.


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