Devonshires successfully defend High Court Appeal regarding Public Sector Equality Duty

Devonshires represented Aldwyck Housing Group in respect of its claim for possession and subsequent Tenant appeal against an outright possession order.

In the County Court Aldwyck, had sought an outright  possession order based on allegations relating to nuisance and anti-social behaviour predominantly involving drug use in the tenant’s flat. The tenant stated he was vulnerable to exploitation because of physical and mental disability and that he was subject to a “cuckooing” operation, where he stated his flat had been taken over by others to sell drugs. Aldwyck did not carry out a public sector equality duty assessment under Section 149 Equality Act 2010 prior to issuing proceedings. The judge was not satisfied on the evidence that the tenant suffered with a mental disability or that there was a link between his physical disability and the anti-social behaviour. An outright possession order was granted.

The tenant appealed on the basis that the Judge had failed to properly consider matters under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (the Public Sector Equality Duty “PSED”) when making the possession order.

The High Court dismissed the tenant’s appeal. It found that the absence of an adequate PSED assessment did not necessarily result in a successful appeal and, even if a proper assessment had been undertaken, Aldwyck would have reached a different conclusion or that there was, or could have been any evidence on which it could have reached a different conclusion.

Although the Judge had not carried out a structured enquiry it was not a material error as she regarded the enforcement of a possession order as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim and had she applied her mind to the broader considerations under s149 she would have arrived at the same conclusion.

For further information about this Judgment or the Equality Act 2010, please contact Donna McCarthy who will be able to assist.


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