DEPARTMENT PROFILE

Garden Court Chambers

Social Housing

11 ranked barristersBand 1London (Bar)UK Bar 2021 View ranking table
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Garden Court Chambers is very well known for its representation of tenants in highly complex social housing cases. Members of the set frequently represent vulnerable clients in disrepair claims, homelessness appeals and possession proceedings. Barristers at the set are regularly called on to assist with challenges to local authority housing, welfare and benefit decisions.

Client service:

"The clerks at the chambers are efficient, helpful and friendly." "The set’s clerking service is excellent." Tim Hempsted is the housing practice manager.

Strengths:

Bethan Harris
Specialises in cases with combined housing, capacity and community care aspects, often acting for disabled and otherwise vulnerable clients. She sits on the Panel of Counsel for the Equality and Human Rights Commission and regularly speaks on developments in social housing law. She is also frequently sought after for her expertise in housing benefits. Her recent work has seen her routinely acting for vulnerable tenants in possession proceedings.
"She is very good on social housing. The quality of her work and performance are impressive." "She gets the right results for her clients. She's very good with reading papers and raising the important points."


Strengths:

Connor Johnston
Recognised housing and homelessness specialist with a growing reputation for technically complex possession cases and judicial review. He continues to be committed to publicly funded social housing work and is known for producing an impressive amount of written work on the subject. He is co-author of 'Housing Allocation and Homelessness'. Johnston attracts praise for his skills in representing vulnerable tenants and applicants, many of whom lack capacity.
"He has a great legal mind, great client skills and is very good at raising and progressing a case." "Connor is extremely bright and a good advocate. He works in a methodical, professional and organised manner and is unfazed by difficulties arising in a case."
Recent work: Acted for Shelter, as intervenor, in a Court of Appeal case concerning whether a homeless person who brings an appeal late because they have been looking for a lawyer and/or trying to get legal aid may have a ‘good reason’ for their delay, justifying permission being granted to appeal out of time.

Strengths:

Edward Fitzpatrick
Handles a wide range of housing and property matters for tenants and applicants. He earns consistent praise for his measured and meticulous approach to complex homelessness and anti-social behaviour litigation. Fitzpatrick also garners accolades for his work in possession proceedings, particularly where Equality Act or human rights issues are raised. He also has expert knowledge of leasehold disputes.
"He easily builds a rapport with vulnerable clients and turns around written work quickly."
Recent work: Acted for an appellant following her conviction under the Prevention from Social Housing Fraud Act 2013. The Court of Appeal case focused on the directions provided by the trial judge to the jury regarding the definition of 'subletting'.

Strengths:

Justine Compton
An accomplished housing junior with specialist knowledge of Traveller law. She is also notable for her impressive defence of possession claims and is frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor. In addition to her advocacy, she routinely writes and lectures on various aspects of social housing legislation.
"She is a good advocate, well prepared and professional in her work. She is extremely knowledgeable, particularly in Equality Act issues. She is very responsive and gives clear, well thought out advice."
Recent work: Acted for a tenant in an appeal against a mandatory possession order on the grounds that the district judge had failed to comply with procedural requirements.

Strengths:

Kevin Gannon
A notable presence in the social housing sphere, having appeared in cases regarding disrepair and homelessness. He also has substantial experience of possession proceedings. Gannon's practice is fortified by his public law expertise which takes in immigration and human rights matters. He also sits part-time as a social security tribunal judge.
"He has an intellectual tenacity and is absolutely brilliant." "Kevin is a first-class advocate. He is incredibly calm, practical and focused on his work. He has an excellent manner with clients."
Recent work: Instructed in a homelessness appeal under Section 204 of the Housing Act 1996, representing a client with a severe alcohol addiction who was evicted after anti-social behaviour. The case concerned whether his actions were 'deliberate'.

Strengths:

Liz Davies
Has vast experience in the social housing sector and is recognised for her outstanding knowledge of homelessness law, which she demonstrates in court and in her authoritative writing on the subject. Davies continues to act in an impressive amount of homelessness appeals, frequently developing the law. She also advises local authorities on allocation schemes, and draws on her broader expertise in the fields of community care and administrative law to buttress her highly esteemed housing practice. Davies was instructed as counsel in Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
"She is really good on her feet and has a really wide breadth of housing law knowledge. She is one of the leading voices in the sector." "Liz is committed, authoritative and a pleasure to work with. She is very widely respected for her work in homelessness law and judicial reviews."
Recent work: Acted as lead counsel for the appellant in the Court of Appeal in a case concerning whether claims for direct, indirect or disability discrimination could be raised within a Section 204 appeal and the extent to which Section 113 of the Equality Act 2010 and its reference to 'judicial review' could be said to apply these appeals.

Strengths:

Marina Sergides
An advocate who "goes above and beyond," with a broad social housing practice encompassing areas such as homelessness, unlawful eviction and disrepair. She offers enviable experience in possession claims, particularly as they relate to Article 8 and public law, and is adept at handling cases at the intersection of community care and housing law. Sergides is also well versed in handling anti-social behaviour claims and attracts praise for her ability to work with vulnerable clients.
"Marina is passionate and good on her feet."
Recent work: Acted on behalf of a deaf tenant, who also had learning difficulties, who was facing an order for possession on the grounds that her property had allegedly been unlawfully sublet.

Strengths:

Nick Bano
A notable junior in the field of social housing, who enjoys a strong reputation for his skills in representing tenants and applicants in a range of housing matters. His thriving practice takes in homelessness appeals, disrepair claims and possession proceedings, among others.
"He is quick-thinking and creative. He works quickly in urgent matters while his written work is particularly well drafted and well thought through."
Recent work: Represented a homeless applicant in an appeal regarding whether an unlawful decision to award a contract to a private company can be retrospectively ratified, as well as the broader nature of homelessness cases.

Strengths:

Stephen Cottle
Established junior with extensive experience of the full range of social housing issues. He is known for his specialism in Gypsy and Traveller law, and also frequently acts for tenants and applicants in possession proceedings, homelessness appeals and disrepair claims. His housing practice is strengthened by his wide-ranging knowledge of equality issues and human rights law.
"He is very good, knowledgeable and an expert on Gypsy and Traveller law." "He is extremely bright, fiercely intelligent, and his reputation is superb."

Strengths:

Tessa Buchanan
Widely respected junior with an impressive track record of representing clients across a broad range of social housing cases. Her particular strength lies in possession and unlawful eviction cases. She also has extensive experience in the area of homelessness, and has acted before the Court of Appeal. Her burgeoning practice also encompasses challenges to local authorities' housing allocation decisions.
"She is always willing to make herself available and you can ask her off-the-cuff questions and call her up for advice." "She is excellent - very strong in court and extremely thorough, very easy to work with and great with clients."
Recent work: Acted for a tenant in an application to suspend a warrant and a subsequent permission to appeal and stay hearing. The case concerned exceptionally high arrears of over £15,000.

Strengths:

Timothy Baldwin
Dedicated junior with a reputation for taking on challenging and legally complex social housing work. His practice typically concerns homelessness and allocation cases for tenants with mental health issues or specialist community care needs. He also impresses with his representation of tenants in unlawful eviction and disrepair claims, as well as service charge disputes.
"He is brilliant and an absolute walking encyclopedia of knowledge. He is very sharp strategically." "He is fiercely committed to this sector."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a trial arising out of an unlawful eviction. The case is a test case considering the definition of letting agreements which purport to exclude the let from the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and the rights of the occupiers of properties subject to those agreements.

Social Housing Department

Garden Court Chambers

firm
Department location

57-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields

London

Greater London

UK

WC2A 3LJ

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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.

Juniors

London (Bar)

Social Housing


Bethan Harris
Band 2
Connor Johnston
Band 2
Edward Fitzpatrick
Band 1
Justine Compton
Band 3
Kevin Gannon
Band 3
Liz Davies
Star Individuals