Nicholas Grundy and Sara Beecham succeed before the Court of Appeal in a social housing matter concerning whether a court in possession proceedings should approach a disability discrimination defence in the same way as a defence under Article 8 of the ECHR.

8th August 2014

In Akerman-Livingstone v Aster Communities Ltd (formerly Flourish Homes Ltd) [2014] EWCA Civ 1081, handed down on 30 July 2014, the Claimant had sought possession following the council discharging its duty toward the tenant. Mr. Akerman-Livingtsone suffered prolonged duress stress disorder and had not accepted offers of alternative accommodation. He raised a disability discrimination defence under s15 of the Equality Act 2010. The first instance judge summarily determined that the tenant did not have a seriously arguable defence and made a possession order.

On a second appeal in the Court of Appeal, Jan Luba QC argued on behalf of Mr. Akerman-Livingstone that there should not have been a summary determination of the discrimination defence but that this required a full trial unlike the approach to Art. 8. The Court of Appeal disagreed, upholding the approach of the first instance judge and the High Court on the first appeal. Although there were differences between the two defences, the court was concerned with the same proportionality exercise. CPR 55.8 enables the Court to summarily determine the matter without a full trial.

Mr. Akerman-Livingstone has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.