Michael Mullin & Scarlet Taylor-Waller successful in the Court of Appeal

24th April 2024

Judgment was handed down by the Court of Appeal today in Ghaoui v The London Borough of Waltham Forest which concerned the interplay between human rights legislation and the assessment of suitability under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996.

Michael and Scarlet were instructed by the respondent local authority. They successfully argued that the appeal was fatally misconceived and that s.6 the Human Rights Act 1998 did not create a process duty, i.e. a duty of have ones human rights recognised or taken into account in the course of decision making. Instead the Court accepted that s.6 created a duty to achieve a particular outcome (namely compatibility with convention rights) not a duty to make a decision made in a particular way. This stood in contradistinction to the requirements of the public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010.

The Court also accepted their submissions that a failure to expressly recognise an applicant’s human rights in the review decision did not amount to a breach of the code of guidance which vitiated the review decision. The Appeal was therefore dismissed.

The case provides useful guidance as to what extent the engagement of rights under the convention will be relevant to determining suitability.