Stephen Evans and Brynmor Adams (led by Jason Coppell QC) have successfully resisted an application in the High Court for an urgent interim injunction against the London Borough of Camden. The order was sought by a Ms Letizia Esposito, resident of Dorney Towner on the Chalcots Estate who alleged that it was Wednesdbury unreasonable and in breach of her rights under Article 8 of Schedule 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998 for Camden to stop providing temporary accommodation to her. Against the background of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and following testing of cladding used on a number of high-rise residential blocks of flats, London Fire Brigade recommended that residents of 4 of the 5 blocks on the Chalcots Estate be evacuated pending the completion of internal fire safety works. On completion of those works Camden had sought to encourage residents to return to their homes and proposed to cease providing alternative accommodation.
Mrs Justice May refused to grant the injunction, stating that she could not see any irrationality in Camden’s decision. Camden had acted in accordance with advice issued by the Department of Communities and Local Government, the Building Research Establishment, the London Fire Brigade, independent building control inspectors and fire safety experts. The judge also rejected the argument that Camden had failed to provide adequate information to the residents in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
If successful the injunction application would have caused significant disruption to those efforts, as further residents would have sought to rely on the ruling. The case could also have ramifications for a large number of local authorities, social housing providers and other public and private landowners. According to DCLG, at least 60 cladding samples from across 25 local authority areas have failed the initial combustibility tests. The first round of tests on complete cladding systems revealed that 82 buildings (47 owned or managed by local authority or housing associations) used a cladding system that failed the tests. The results of the tests on the cladding system used on the Chalcots Estate are not yet known.
The case has attracted national and local press attention: Click here