R (Lawer) v Restmorel BC [2007] EWHC 2299

In a nutshell this case concerns an application for emergency injunction from the High Court over the telephone in circumstances which were found to be inappropriate. The Claimant's solicitor and counsel were criticised for at best having failed to give the Judge the whole picture so that they had in effect misled him. The case is important reading for any lawyers applying for emergency injunctions. It is still be used [at the time of writing in 2016] by local authorities to argue that emergency injunctions are being obtained in appropriately. As a result it is important for counsel to keep a detailed attendance note of their telephone application when obtaining an out of hours Order.

Summary
The claimant fled with her children from domestic violence in her matrimonial home and she gave up the secure housing association tenancy of that home. The council decided that she had become homeless intentionally. It notified her by letter dated 23 August 2007 that it would only provide accommodation for her until 21 September.

The claimant applied for a review and her solicitors asked for accommodation pending the outcome of that review (Housing Act 1996 section 188(3)). The council declined. Accommodation was withdrawn on 21 September and eventually the claimant was street homeless.

On the evening of 28 September 2007 her solicitors obtained a without notice injunction by telephone from the duty judge requiring the council to accommodate. On the council’s application, a High Court judge set aside the order. There had been material non-disclosure to the duty judge and, in any event, the injunction was not warranted as the underlying judicial review claim was without merit. The judgment gives useful guidance to practitioners on the making of urgent injunction applications.

This summary is from Garden Court Chambers News & Views - October 2007

Links

Baillii Transcript

Nearly Legal 2007 - Homelessness and Ex Parte Injunctions - A Warning 

Law Society Gazette Article 2008 - Abusing the system 

Cambridge Law Digest

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