Manchester City Council v Pinnock

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Manchester City Council v Pinnock [2010] UKSC 45

Possession proceedings against a tenant and the right to respect for a home under the European Convention of Human Rights

Facts

Mr. Pinnock is a council flat tenant with his wife and five sons, under a tenancy agreement containing covenants that no resident would cause “nuisance” or “disturbance” to other persons. Throughout the time at the property, Mr. Pinnock’s five sons were committed over 32 recorded crimes; the most serious included causing death by dangerous driving, burglary, and obstructing justice, and occurred in close proximity to the flat. Accordingly, the local authority obtained a possession order under s143D(2) of the Housing Act 1996. Mr. Pinnock objected on the basis that his eviction would be disproportionate under Article 8 ECHR as his sons no longer lived with him.

Issue

The question arose as (1) to whether Article 8ECHR allows a court to review the proportionality of a public authority’s possession order, and, if so, (2) whether, on the facts, the possession order against Mr. Pinnock was proportionate.

Held

Firstly, the Court, reviewing ECtHR jurisprudence, upheld the right to challenge the proportionality of a local authority’s possession order and, accordingly, a domestic court’s traditional powers of judicial review could be extended to the proportionality of that possession order. The Court’s power of review in light of Article 8 is not excluded by a public authority’s powers under S 143D(2). Secondly, on the facts, the Court held that, although the tenant had the right to challenge the possession order’s proportionality, the Court was satisfied that the order was proportionate considering the extensive history of nuisance and crime. The argument that his sons no longer reside in the property is not a guarantee that they will not in the future nor abstain from visiting. Thus, the Court is satisfied that Mr. Pinnock’s eviction is reasonable and proportionate.

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