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View Full Version : Landlady wins rapist flat appeal



Ericthelobster
10-03-2009, 09:24 AM
As this case has been discussed here in the past as a cautionary tale of the dangers of illegally evicting a tenant, this may be of interest:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/sussex/7933228.stm

Bel
10-03-2009, 11:14 AM
I would be interested to know how they would wish to change the law on this.


I think a change in how/why legal aid was provided in this case/circumstance is perhaps more relevant than a change in housing law per se.

Are there more detailed facts about this case anywhere?

agent46
10-03-2009, 11:37 AM
I would be interested to know how they would wish to change the law on this.


I think a change in how/why legal aid was provided in this case/circumstance is perhaps more relevant than a change in housing law per se.

Are there more detailed facts about this case anywhere?


Re: the law - There is no need to change the law. It is a defence to an action for illegal eviction for the landlord to show that he had reasonable grounds for believing that the tenant had given up possession (or words to that effect). In this case, the appellate court felt the judge at first instance had come to the wrong conclusion. It also appears that for whatever reason, certain important evidence was not put before the Court. In short, there is nothing wrong with the law as it stands, and to call for a change is just a knee-jerk reaction to an isolated case.

Re: legal aid - Why shouldn't a person who claims they have been illegally evicted receive legal aid if they are impecunious? The loss of one's home is an extremely serious matter, and thus highly deserving of public assistance. Although the tenant eventually lost the case, that doesn't mean his claim was without merit.


I think Mrs Goymer would be better off sticking to shampoo and sets (half-price for OAPs every Tuesday) rather than involving herself in legal reform.




Doubtless more of the same ill-informed "why oh why" outrage from the LLZ regulars will appear in this thread over the next day or two. :rolleyes:

Bel
10-03-2009, 11:59 AM
Re: legal aid - Why shouldn't a person who claims they have been illegally evicted receive legal aid if they are impecunious? The loss of one's home is an extremely serious matter, and thus highly deserving of public assistance. Although the tenant eventually lost the case, that doesn't mean his claim was without merit.





Of course legal aid should be made available for illegal evictions. I'm not saying that. :rolleyes:

Rodent1
10-03-2009, 12:00 PM
why o why ? !!!!

Poppy
10-03-2009, 12:19 PM
Delilah.

(10 char filler)

agent46
10-03-2009, 13:06 PM
I think a change in how/why legal aid was provided in this case/circumstance is perhaps more relevant than a change in housing law per se.



Of course legal aid should be made available for illegal evictions. I'm not saying that.


So, with respect to the first quoted passage above, how exactly do you propose that the rules on provision of legal aid should be changed?

Paragon
10-03-2009, 13:42 PM
Everyone should be entitled to Legal Aid and all charges, if any, should be regulated, same like water rates. A National Health (sry. Legal) Service.

jta
10-03-2009, 14:16 PM
Everyone should be entitled to Legal Aid and all charges, if any, should be regulated, same like water rates. A National Health (sry. Legal) Service.

Wow! How many more courts would have to be built if that came in?

Bel
10-03-2009, 14:18 PM
So, with respect to the first quoted passage above, how exactly do you propose that the rules on provision of legal aid should be changed?

If you read my post again, you will see that I myself do not propose any changes.

I infer that the (housing) law does not need to be changed, but that the legal aid system may have disadvantaged them, so it may be more relevant to ammend legal aid than change the law. I do not know many facts of the case except that she is extremely upset and feels her experience was unjustified.

From reading the linked article, it seems that the LL is complaining about their treatment regarding the whole legal process and the personal risk of financial ruin they took to clear their name, in contrast to the rapist, a criminal who had a huge power to make their life a misery, a very slim chance to gain and nothing else to lose, because he was granted legal aid.

Like you say, it could all be a knee jerk reaction. But the public should be reassured that legal aid is spent wisely and not wasted. This sensational story suggests that maybe in this case it was not wisely spent and/or legal aid can put some people at a disadvantage even when they are in the right. There are no enough facts in the article to come to a conclusion in this case.

Bel
10-03-2009, 15:43 PM
Everyone should be entitled to Legal Aid and all charges, if any, should be regulated, same like water rates. A National Health (sry. Legal) Service.

How about: so many legal aid points are awarded with National Insurance payments every year. Maybe people can also sell their quota (like milk quota) to the highest bidder.

jta
10-03-2009, 15:50 PM
I've got this vision of Agent having to do 'legal triage' or standing in line to collect tokens from his clients.

agent46
10-03-2009, 16:30 PM
If you read my post again, you will see that I myself do not propose any changes.

That's my point. You suggest, I think, that somehow the provision of legal aid was unjust (towards the LL) in this case in particular, or, perhaps housing cases in general. If you think it is unjust, then please let us hear your proposals for improvement.


I infer that the (housing) law does not need to be changed, but that the legal aid system may have disadvantaged them,

See above.

Who is "them"?



so it may be more relevant to ammend legal aid than change the law. I do not know many facts of the case except that she is extremely upset and feels her experience was unjustified.


But amend it how?

Rather than criticise, suggest a better alternative.

Frankly, the landlord's feelings are irrelevant - usually one and often all of the parties to a dispute feel hard done by (landlords seem to have a particular tendency towards self-pity). However, in this country, we (I hope) do not legislate on the basis of one person's feelings. The fact of the matter is that she had a bit of bad luck, this bad luck was compounded by a failure to deal with the matter correctly at first instance, but now, following the appeal, hopefully things have corrected themselves.

As for her unrecoverable costs, please see the recent discussions on commercial risk and reward.

It seems to me that the landlord probably thought, "He's a rapist and I'm a fine upstanding hairdresser, therefore I'm home and dry" and was shocked to discover that the courts do not try disputes on such a primitive basis. I'd also be very interested to know whether she represented herself, rather than engaging professional representation at the first hearing. It is somewhat jumping to conclusions, and the wording of the article is ambiguous, but the level of her costs ("£5000 before the appeal") could suggest that she was only legally represented for the appeal stages of the case and not at first instance. If that is the case, then she paid dearly for the mistake of representing herself.

agent46
10-03-2009, 16:33 PM
Everyone should be entitled to Legal Aid and all charges, if any, should be regulated, same like water rates. A National Health (sry. Legal) Service.

That was actually the initial aim of the 1949 Act, but it has never quite lived up to its billing.

Bel
10-03-2009, 17:14 PM
You suggest, I think, that somehow the provision of legal aid was unjust (towards the LL) in this case in particular, or, perhaps housing cases in general. If you think it is unjust, then please let us hear your proposals for improvement.



I said I am interested in what the LL and her team have to say about any changes in law or legal aid, as they are the ones who do know the facts of this case, and they just may have a point to make. I could see that potentially the LL had cocked up the repossession process, and the first hearing and paid dearly for her mistake.

The main reason for my interest was that I didn't think housing law needed changing from anything I picked up in the article; so what could they propose? So then I thought that maybe it was to do more with the court process and legal aid that maybe they were to take issue with.


As a LL, I am naturally interested in court workings regarding LL/tenant issues, and how legal aid works. I would like to know if it is just or unjust.

mind the gap
10-03-2009, 17:28 PM
I've got this vision of Agent having to do 'legal triage' or standing in line to collect tokens from his clients.

Legal triage? I love the idea, but I'm struggling to think of useful legal questions which are the equivalent of 'Oh, I can see your leg is hanging off...how did it happen?'

Telometer
10-03-2009, 17:49 PM
"Change in the law"

Why does the law need changing? She got the result she wanted! There is no law that needs changing. Problem is, people do not understand the law - (for whatever reason) she didn't submit the right evidence first time round, so lost.

Mrs Jones
10-03-2009, 17:59 PM
It seems to me that the landlord probably thought, "He's a rapist and I'm a fine upstanding hairdresser, therefore I'm home and dry" and was shocked to discover that the courts do not try disputes on such a primitive basis.

I doubt it - what she probably thought was, this man has been sentenced to (life imprisonment?) (xx years in prison?) and won't be requiring his flat any more.

And she paid for his goods to be put in storage - not thrown out. He was just trying it on and was given our cash to do it!

agent46
10-03-2009, 18:59 PM
I would like to know if it is just or unjust.

But what is justice?

From one point of view, it was just that the tenant had his day in court (procedural justice). However, from another point of view, it was unjust that the landlady suffered thousands of pounds in expenses and endured months of mental agony, but then again, she also benefitted from procedural justice herself because a system was in place whereby she could challenge the findings of the court of first instance. Additionally, substantive justice prevailed in the end because she won her appeal. Others still would go back to first principles and argue that a society which permits and indeed encourages the unequal distribution of property and the associated economic exploitation of other people is unjust (Marx), whilst others would argue that it is unjust to put any fetters whatsoever on the accumulation and use of property (Locke). Some might say the funding of private investments from the public purse (through LHA) is unjust, where their opponents would argue that it would be unjust to deprive LHA tenants and their landlords of the opportunity of contracting with each other in the property market.....and on and on and on.

Western society has been grappling with the definition of justice since the time of Socrates, and there are serious doubts as to whether there is actually any such thing, so I doubt you'll get an answer to your question anytime soon.



I said I am interested in what the LL and her team have to say about any changes in law or legal aid, as they are the ones who do know the facts of this case, and they just may have a point to make..

I don't think her legal team have made any comment on the law or legal aid. Her solicitor (who, incidentally, should smarten himself up a bit) merely commented in the vox pop bit that the granting of legal aid to the tenant "put the tenant in a strong position, but his client had been determined to fight for justice" (there's that pesky term again). It would be a very hypocritical High St solicitor who castigated others for fighting weak but publicly funded cases and an extremely unwise one who called for a further tightening up of the legal aid regime!



I doubt it - what she probably thought was, this man has been sentenced to (life imprisonment?) (xx years in prison?) and won't be requiring his flat any more.



No, you misunderstand. The above was the conclusion she came to before the court case was even in contemplation, whereas I was referring to the way in which she might have approached the subsequent court case.



"Change in the law"

Why does the law need changing? She got the result she wanted! There is no law that needs changing. Problem is, people do not understand the law - (for whatever reason) she didn't submit the right evidence first time round, so lost.

Exactly. That was another reason for me questioning whether she took the (monumentally stupid) decision to represent herself at the first hearing. I could easily be wrong, and like I said, the wording of the article is ambiguous, but a number of factors point in that direction.

Telometer
10-03-2009, 20:13 PM
Daily Mail journalism. Dontcha just love it.