DEPARTMENT PROFILE

Doughty Street Chambers

Social Housing

10 ranked barristersBand 1London (Bar)UK Bar 2021 View ranking table
chambers review
Ranked Barristers
chambers review
Ranked Barristers

Chambers Review

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Doughty Street Chambers is an excellent housing set known for its capabilities in acting for tenants and applicants. The members are experts in possession proceedings and homelessness appeals, with a particular focus on matters involving community care considerations. Instructing solicitors note that the barristers provide "really good and quality legal advice and representation for our clients."

Client service:

"The clerks are excellent, friendly, helpful and efficient." "They are very responsive and helpful and lovely to deal with." "The clerks are fabulous, prompt and responsive." Sian Wilkins is the civil senior practice manager.

Strengths:

Ben Chataway
Experienced housing lawyer and part-time tribunal judge whose practice is enhanced by his knowledge of welfare and social security matters. He typically handles housing cases involving public law and discrimination issues, and has particular expertise in matters relating to allocations, possessions and homelessness. He further attracts praise for his written advocacy and drafting. Chataway is also recognised for his skill in representing clients under difficult circumstances, such as those with disabilities or those seeking asylum.
"He's very measured and sensible but can bring that creativity that you need." "A wonderfully capable but also very compassionate barrister who is the first person I go to whenever I am dealing with anyone vulnerable."
Recent work: Acted for an individual to resist an appeal by Waltham Forest LBC concerning the local authority's obligations when seeking to discharge homelessness duties by housing an applicant outside its own district.

Strengths:

Daniel Clarke
Cultivates a growing reputation for his representation of tenants in possession proceedings and homelessness appeals. He is particularly adroit at handling cases with elements of community care, and garners praise for his ability to engage with clients who lack capacity. He is also frequently instructed in disrepair and unlawful eviction claims.
"He is very up to date on the nitty gritty of housing law and very approachable. He is very good with clients - very warm and clear with people." "He is the perfect combination of fiercely intelligent, thoughtful and brave in litigation with a strong legal knowledge over a range of areas."
Recent work: Continued to act for Liberty as intervener in a Court of Appeal case concerning the Right to Rent scheme.

Strengths:

David Carter
Established advocate with substantial experience acting for both private and public sector clients in landlord and tenant and local government issues. Carter is recommended for his skilful handling of matters that have a public law or human rights element, and is especially well regarded for his expert handling of homelessness appeals.
"He has an encyclopedic knowledge of housing law and no one knows more than him on the subject."
Recent work: Instructed on behalf of an individual with a history of mental ill-health who became homeless when he caused a fire in his flat. Norwich City Council accepted his homelessness application but refused to secure interim accommodation for him pending the determination of his application because he had not attended a mental health assessment. Carter advised on a judicial review of the council’s decision and an application for an interim injunction requiring the council to accommodate him.

Strengths:

Dominic Preston
Elicits praise for his homelessness expertise, encompassing priority need and intentionality cases, Court of Protection and anti-social behaviour work. He is also known for his ability to handle complex disrepair and unlawful eviction claims, and is increasingly sought after by clients in possession proceedings. He is able to draw on broader knowledge of human rights, EU and immigration law to inform his housing practice.
"He is excellent, thorough and really good in cases where clients lack capacity. He is also very detailed and achieves very good results." "He has an immense intellect and he is very voracious in finding points to attack the opposing side."
Recent work: Acted in a homelessness appeal in which affordability and intentionality were at issue. The Court of Appeal considered the issue of whether the authority could say that an applicant was intentionally homeless if he or she had failed to increase their income by finding work, where the work that might have been obtained was unidentified and uncertain.

Strengths:

Jamie Burton QC
Well-respected litigator with a strong reputation for his judicial review work. He is held in esteem for his adroit handling of homelessness cases and landlord and tenant disputes, and offers particularly in-depth knowledge of the Housing Act 1996. Commentators note that he has an exceptionally strong grasp of human rights law.
"He is knowledgeable, a good communicator and excellent in the fields he works in. In a difficult case he made very astute tactical decisions and was really impressive with his advocacy skills." "He is a legal superstar in the making and incredible at his job."
Recent work: Acted in a high-profile case concerning the government’s Right to Rent scheme, which is part of the 'hostile environment' policy. The scheme criminalises landlords who rent to people who are in the UK illegally.

Strengths:

Jim Shepherd
Housing and property specialist known for his work on behalf of law centres and vulnerable tenants. He is lauded by market commentators as a personable and sensitive but tenacious advocate. Shepherd comes particularly recommended for his work on discrimination cases. He also garners praise for his ability to handle complex possession proceedings.
"Jim is very approachable and quick to respond. He has an excellent knowledge of the relevant law and is very thorough. Jim clearly goes the extra mile to secure the best possible results for clients."
Recent work: Successfully represented an individual who had recently obtained leave to remain despite being in the UK for 20 years. She was cohabiting with the former tenant of her home and she applied to succeed the tenancy when he died, which the landlord refused.

Strengths:

Lindsay Johnson
Housing specialist known for his strong track record in judicial reviews and in public law challenges covering a range of issues, such as failure to comply with homelessness duties, anti-social behaviour policies and failure to follow allocation policies. His diverse practice also includes areas such as stock transfers, unlawful eviction and possession proceedings. He is also known for his ability to handle disputes over tenancy agreements and service charges.
"He is committed and has done some really important cases recently." "He turns work around very quickly and is very good and very bright. Clients are very happy with him."
Recent work: Acted in a judicial review case exploring the methods of discharge of the main housing duty under Section 193(2) of the Housing Act 1996. The case concerned the new duties contained in the Homelessness Reduction Act and how those duties interact with existing duties.

Strengths:

Martin Westgate QC
Respected leader of the public law team at Doughty Street and widely considered to be a go-to silk for tenants and applicants. He has been involved in high-profile cases concerning the housing benefit cap and the so-called 'bedroom tax'. He regularly acts on matters where human rights and housing law interact. A further area of expertise lies in advising local authorities on policy issues.
"He is very collaborative, very good in court and very well respected. He knows his stuff, thinks strategically, is a great advocate and is so committed to this area of law." "He is unflappable in court and has an answer to everything."
Recent work: Acted for Shelter and Child Poverty Action Group in a homelessness appeal against Birmingham City Council concerning whether a person can be intentionally homeless if they lose their home through non-payment of rent when they cannot pay their rent without using subsistence benefits.

Strengths:

Sarah Steinhardt
Effective, accomplished advocate with pronounced expertise in mental capacity and Equality Act issues in the context of social housing. Her impressive practice takes in homelessness cases and challenges to allocation schemes. She regularly handles disability discrimination matters as part of her diverse practice. Steinhardt is frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor and is also recognised for her strength in housing benefit disputes.
"She is very clued up and excellent in challenging the local authority in homelessness proceedings. She understands the nuances of the Equality Act and is very efficient." "Sarah has a brilliant mind. She is very astute and pragmatic and very good at suggesting ways of getting around problems."
Recent work: Acted in Jewish Community Housing Association v Goldstein, a long-running case which involved allegations of anti-social behaviour in a residential community for elderly and vulnerable people.

Strengths:

Zia Nabi
Housing and social welfare specialist with significant experience of advocating in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. He routinely handles public law challenges with regard to community care, social housing and human rights law. His work includes cases regarding Traveller accommodation.
"Zia is an outstanding advocate. He has extensive experience of housing law with cutting-edge experience of equality law. He has a fantastic intellect and is brilliant at explaining complex legal principles in an easy-to-understand manner. He commands huge respect in the courtroom because he is very knowledgeable and gets this across with polite, eloquent but persuasive advocacy. "
Recent work: Acted for a tenant in a High Court appeal against a possession order in an extreme hoarding case.

Social Housing Department

Doughty Street Chambers

firm
Department location

54 Doughty Street

London

Greater London

UK

WC1N 2LS

View Firm Profile

Ranked Barristers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Silks (QC)

London (Bar)

Social Housing


Jamie Burton QC
New Silks
Martin Westgate QC
Band 1

Juniors

London (Bar)

Social Housing


Ben Chataway
Band 1
Daniel Clarke
Band 4
David Carter
Band 2
Dominic Preston
Band 1