Injunctions, evictions and unrepresented parties

Brown v Tyndale (2019) QBD (Robert Francis QC) 25/07/2019 (unreported, but note of extempore judgment on lawtel)

The kind of thing that happens when neither party is represented…

In December 2018, Mr Brown had obtained an ex parte injunction against Mr Tyndale, the landlord, on the basis that the landlord had attempted to lock him out of the property and remove his possessions. There was a dispute as to whether occupation was under an assured shorthold tenancy or not. On the return date, the landlord attended, and the injunction was vacated. (The tenant asserted that this decision had been appealed, but there was no evidence of this.)

The tenant then obtained  renewal of the injunction on an ex parte basis, with a commitment to file and serve on the landlord and application for the return date.

It appears that matters were then delayed due to discussions between the parties. The landlord then applied to set aside the injunction order, on the basis that the landlord wished to issue possession proceedings.

The tenant sought an adjournment to get legal advice. This was refused as he had had at least a weeks notice of hearing.

The landlord (in person) argued that the injunction prevented him from issuing possession proceedings.

The High Court held that the issue of the nature of the tenant’s occupation and tenure could not be decided on this hearing, given the lack of evidence. But the injunction did not prevent the landlord bringing possession proceedings.

Removing the injunction would suggest that the landlord was entitled to immediate possession, but on the other hand, the injunction did not mean that the tenant was entitled to remain in the premises.

The existing injunction was varied to make clear that it did not prevent the issue of possession proceedings by the landlord, and that the tenant would pay £800 per month while in occupation (without prejudice to any counterclaim).

The case was transferred to the County Court.

Comment

Oh brilliant. Two unrepresented parties wasting the High Court’s time, when this should always have been a county court matter, and with representation would have been dealt with in a couple of weeks.

There will be much more of this. The High Court should be more proactive in transferring matters to the county court, for starters.

About Giles Peaker

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, and still is Nearly Legal on Google +.
Posted in Assured Shorthold tenancy, Housing law - All, Unlawful eviction and harassment and tagged , .

3 Comments

  1. I agree with your points there Giles but you seem to suggest that sourcing representation is easy when it is anything but. Despite the recently published official list of housing specialist legal aid solicitors, which looks quite healthy in terms of numbers, whenever we call trying to get someone for injunctions for illegally evicted clients, which is several times a month, nobody has capacity and as you know, with illegal evictions, speed is of the essence. in three and half years, working with over 350 families in six London boroughs we managed to get a solicitor involved in less than ten cases.

  2. Wholly agree but the problem with represented parties is getting the representation.

    Last week govt issued the latest list of housing specialist legal aid solicitors and although the excel spreadsheet is impressively populated it isnt the same as being able to find a solicitor with capacity to take on. My crew have need of an injunction several times every month and the ring around always gets me the same answer “Sorry Ben we’re snowed” and injunctions in cases of illegal eviction need to be done fast if re-entry is the aim.

    Most times self representation is the only choice people have

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