Garden Court Chambers

Social Housing Department

London (Bar)
Current View:

This content is provided by Chambers. Learn more about our methodology

Garden Court Chambers remains "a leading chambers for housing law barristers." The set is well established in the market for its representation of tenants and homeless individuals. Members frequently act for vulnerable clients in housing issues such as possession proceedings, disrepair claims and homelessness appeals. Its barristers are described as "very knowledgeable and dedicated."

Client service: "The clerking is impeccable." "The clerks are very reliable and helpful. The set also does very helpful and useful evening training seminars." Tim Hempsted is the housing practice manager.

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.
Strengths: "Extremely able and always very well prepared." "She is very knowledgeable in all areas of housing." "She is very good with clients and very approachable."

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 the co-author of Housing Allocation and Homelessness. Johnston attracts praise for his skills in representing vulnerable tenants and applicants, many of whom lack capacity.
Strengths: "He is thorough, insightful, and gets to the heart of the case with full consideration of the details surrounding it." "Extremely knowledgeable and analytical."
Recent work: Successfully acted for the defendant in an eviction case. The claimant argued that the client's right to occupy temporary accommodation had come to an end after she refused an offer of permanent accommodation.

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.
Strengths: "A true all-rounder for all housing cases. He is always up to speed on the latest developments and can explain tricky concepts with ease." "He carries the court with him with the reasonableness of his argument as he presents it."
Recent work: Acted for the appellant in a homelessness appeal regarding the suitability of accommodation provided to a disabled applicant.

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.
Strengths: "She is able to engage with clients effectively to understand their needs and is sympathetic yet at the same time impresses with her advocacy." "She is approachable and clients like her a lot."
Recent work: Acted in Paragon Asra Housing v Neville, an appeal by the landlord against a previous decision that Sections 15 and 35 of the Equality Act 2010 could be invoked at a warrant suspension application.

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.
Strengths: "A pleasure to work with; he provides quick, reliable and no-nonsense advice." "A complete housing lawyer."
Recent work: Successfully represented a tenant in an appeal against a possession order. The appeal was based on the argument that Thurrock Council's decision-making was flawed and unlawful.

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 has recently been instructed as counsel in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
Strengths: "A senior junior of the highest calibre. Very authoritative on homelessness law and relentless in cross-examination." "She is extremely enthusiastic and dedicated to the field of housing law. She is very easy to communicate with, even when discussing complex issues on an urgent basis."

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.
Strengths: "She is very good at thinking out of the box and she is a thorough and sound advocate in court who stands her ground." "Pays attention to detail, goes the extra mile and has very good skills with clients."
Recent work: Represented two tenants in an eviction case in which it was held that it was disproportionate to evict the tenants because the housing provider had failed to consider alternative options to possession.

Nick Bano
An emerging talent in the field of social housing, who enjoys a growing 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.
Strengths: "A rising star in housing law." "He is really thorough and comes up with unusual arguments. He also has good face-to-face skills with clients."
Recent work: Acted for in Forward v Aldwyck Housing Group, a High Court appeal on the application of the public sector equality duty in possession proceedings.

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.
Strengths: "An excellent advocate who is intellectually strong, with commitment to the cause and a personable nature." "He has enormous energy and great aptitude for turning cases around."
Recent work: Acted for the tenant in Birmingham City Council v Buck. This was a successful appeal against a possession order made against a family member left in occupation with no right to succeed, following the death of a secure tenant who was a successor.

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
Strengths: "An excellent advocate who is very tenacious and committed to the cause." "She has a meticulous and forensic approach but also stands back from the detail of a case to provide holistic advice."

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. His recent work has seen him act for tenants in service charge disputes.
Strengths: "He is very good with vulnerable clients and clients who do not have capacity." "His written skills are excellent and he is commanding on his feet."
Recent work: Successfully represented a tenant in an application to set aside a possession order and suspend a warrant for eviction, which a local authority sought to enforce on the grounds of extreme anti-social behaviour and rent arrears.