Post by Colin Henderson on Aug 25, 2014 21:31:19 GMT
Another tiny bit of good news to pass on. I heard recently via James Stark of Garden Court North Chambers that a local authority tenant facing an application for a demotion order has, after threatening judicial review of the Legal Aid Agency of course, been granted a certificate to defend the action in the county court. This is despite the FAQ document issued just after LASPO saying in terms that demotion was out of scope as possession was not at stake; instead the LAA granted that rarest of beasts - Exceptional Funding.
Under the Housing Act 1985 a demoted tenant loses their secured status and has the same status as an introductory tenant for a period of 12 months. During that period they can have their tenancy terminated without there being much say from the judge, If the authority goes through its internal procedures properly then only in the most exceptional cases breaching Article 8 rights can a judge overrule the statutory eviction process - there is no longer a reasonableness test.
So lack of legal representation at the demotion stage, where reasonableness is the test, would have been a big blow to local authority tenants, as they would be on their own at that point and then with limited legal arguments when they could (presumably) get legal aid before eviction.
Well done and credit to the legal aid firm Community Law Partnership for this and another traveller case - further details are on the legal aid handbook site.
And if on the back of this and the recent successful JR of the exceptional funding refusals in family reunion cases you are emboldened to spend the day or two it takes to make an exceptional funding application, the PLP have now published some resources which may help you here: