Recent Successes

Russell Conway quoted by Ms Karen Buck MP in Parliament on Legal Aid Post-Implementation Review:

“I could have filled my allocated time with any number of comments made to me by individual lawyers prior to the debate, but I picked one at random relating to housing, which I am particularly concerned about. I was contacted this morning by Russell Conway, a housing lawyer with Oliver Fisher, who said:

“Legal Aid lawyers are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Worse still large numbers of clients cannot get access. Yesterday I turned away 10 prospective housing clients as their cases were no longer within scope”.

Thomson v London Borough of Southwark (30 September 2015, LAG, December 2015/ January 2016, p. 41 Disrepair Quantum

Where (from 2009) a tenant of a purpose built block of flats complained about water penetration and subsidence, Deputy District Judge Sofaer awarded general damages in the amount of £10,180.84. Applying the uplift of 10 per cent, the award for general damages was increased to £11,198.92.

Oliver Fisher is reaccredited with the Conveyancing and LEXCEL Quality marks – August 2014

The Law Society’s accreditation schemes can help you find legal advice quickly and confidently. The accreditation schemes award a quality mark to law firms, practices and individual solicitors who meet only the highest standards of expertise and client service in specific areas of law.

Asaad v Kurter [2013] EWHC 3852 (Fam) (05 December 2013)

Where a ceremony conducted in Syria was deemed to be incapable of any form of legal recognition or of attracting consequential financial remedy under Syrian law and therefore ‘invalid’, was accorded the status of a void rather than a ‘non-marriage’ inthis jurisdiction therefore entitling the Petitioner to a decree of nullity and the ability to make a financial claim.

Russell Conway – Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2013 – Social Welfare

Russell Conway, senior partner at Oliver Fisher, is recognised for his career (spanning over 30 years) advising and representing the most vulnerable legally aided social housing tenants.

Russell, is described by one housing charity as “an exceptional lawyer who uses his vast experience to help thousands of clients”. A client with severe learning difficulties wrote: “Russell has ensured my welfare and my place in society. If it was not for him, I do not know how I would have coped or whether I would still be here to make this nomination.”

Dukali v Lamrani [2012] EWHC 1748 (Fam) (15 March 2012)

This case concerned a marriage ceremony that was conducted in the UK (in the Moroccan Consulate), but according to the laws of a foreign jurisdiction, namely Morocco. Although it was not a purely religious marriage, it was a civil marriage not in compliance with the English Marriage Acts 1949-1994 but in compliance with Moroccan family law. If it had been conducted in Morocco it would have been recognised in this country, but unfortunately for the applicant, the High Court held that marriages entered into in England have to comply with the laws of England (even when, as here, there had been a foreign divorce).

Ehiabor v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea [2009] EWCA Civ 1074 (8 May 2008)

A child born in the United Kingdom who was not a British citizen required to leave to remain under the Immigration Act 1971 s.1 (2) and so was subject to immigration control. Under the housing Act 1996 s.185(4), members of this household could not therefore rely on him as a dependent child to show that they had a priority need for accommodation.

Kamran Zabihi v (1) Mahmood Janzemini (2) Yousef Massodipour (3) Alounak Kebab Ltd [2008] EWHC 2910 (28 November 2008)

Where jewellery entrusted to the first defendant by the claimant was not that later proffered by the first defendant, he was liable to the claimant for damages for conversion. Although the precise identity of the converted jewellery could not be established and its value was thereby in doubt, the court did its best on such evidence as it felt able to accept to assess the damages payable.

Porter v Shepherds Bush Housing Association [2008] UKHL 70 (12 December 2008)

The house of Lords ruled that an assured tenancy subject to a suspended possession order does not come to an end until possession was carried out. This means that tenants who are regarded as ‘tolerated trespassers’ because they have been served with a possession order but not evicted, still have rights including the right to buy and rights to repairs.

L (a child), Re [2007] EWCA Civ 196 (13 March 2007)

Although a special guardianship order gave parental responsibility which could take precedence over that belonging to a parent, and was more powerful than that given by a residence order, special guardians are not free from judicial oversight. It was held that a judge had correctly made orders in the best interests of the child with regard to their surname, supervised contact and indirect contact with the father at the same time as making a special guardianship order in favour of the child’s grandparents.

Rehman v Benfield [2006] EWCA Civ 1392 (26 October 2006)

In this case, a claim for adverse possession failed because the squatter had acknowledged the owner’s title within the relevant 12-year period, in the form of a sham lease.

Coaten v PBS Corporation [2006] EWHC 1781 (Ch) (18 July 2006)

Held, that the occupant of a flat had an option to purchase the lease of a flat upon the death of the owner of the company which owned the flat.

Ghaidan v. Godin-Mendoza [2004] UKHL 30 (21 June 2004)

Oliver Fisher represented Mr Godin Mendoza through the County Court, Court of Appeal and House of Lords in this decision which broke new grounds in giving rights to Gay couples which previously they had never enjoyed. Not only important in a property law context this decision was also one of the most important recent decisions on the Human Rights Act and in particular s.3 of that Act in relation to statutory construction.

Zardasht, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Home Department [2004] EWHC 91 (Admin) (23 January 2004)

This case found that an asylum seeker’s evidence was not sufficient to show that the lack of state support involved inhuman or degrading treatment within the ECHR, on the basis that his condition was similar to that described in Pretty v UK [2002] FCR 97, such that the Home Secretary had misdirected himself in law as to the evidence required in support of such a claim and the level of destitution that was necessary to attract support.

Orejudos v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea [2003] EWCA Civ 1967 (22 October 2003)

The court held that the imposition of a condition that a homeless person living in a hotel must inform the housing authority if he was not going to be at the hotel every night could be lawfully imposed.

Hijazi v Kensington & Chelsea Royal London Borough Council (2003)

Held, that a local housing authority could conclude that a claimant had made himself intentionally homeless through non-payment of rent, which led to his eviction.

Francis v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (2003)

The court found that the country court should apply the relevant principles on judicial review applications, on an appeal under s.204A Housing Act 1996.

B Osborn & Co Ltd v Dior [2003] EWCA Civ 281 (22 January 2003)

Held, that erroneous notices which had been completed by agents of the landlords, served pursuant to s.20 Housing Act 1988, remained valid.

Antonio Mendoza v Ahmad Raja Ghaidan [2002] EWCA Civ 1533 (5 November 2002)

Oliver Fisher represented Mr Godin Mendoza through the County Court, Court of Appeal and House of Lords in this decision which broke new grounds in giving rights to Gay couples which previously they had never enjoyed. Not only important in a property law context this decision was also one of the most important recent decisions on the Human Rights Act and in particular s.3 of that Act in relation to statutory construction.

Oliver Fisher (a firm) v Legal Services Commission [2002] EWHC 1017 (Admin) (10th May, 2002)

Held that the LSC had unlawfully allocated costs due to a firm of solicitors regarding a client, to costs due to the same firm in respect of another client, followed by deferral in payment of the costs.

H v H (2002)

The court refused the rescission of the decree nisi in an ancillary relief case, in order to allow pension sharing under the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999, as it was contrary to the intention of Parliament.

London Borough Of Ealing & Ors v Jan [2002] EWCA Civ 329 (7 February 2002)

It was held that the judge erred by stating his mistrust of the appellant and failing to disqualify himself from a subsequent rehearing of a committal application.

Uratemp Ventures Ltd v (1) John Collins (2) Mary Carrell

Landlord and tenant – housing

Cadogan Estates Ltd v Roderick Joseph McMahon (1999)

Landlord and tenant – insolvency

Laimond Properties Ltd v Al-Shakarchi (1998)

This concerned the question as to whether a new tenancy of alternative accommodation could be regarded as an assured tenancy, where the defendant contended that it was a protected tenancy.

Re K (Arrears of child maintenance) (1997)

This was an appeal against committal for imprisonment for the non-payment of child maintenance, in which the appellant argued that non-payment was due to lack of means rather than willful refusal.

Gereis v Yagoub (1997)

This case considered whether the petitioner was entitled to a decree of nullity in respect of a void marriage.

Kensington & Chelsea London Borough Council v Simmonds (1996)

This case concerned the inability of a tenant to control an unruly teenage son who caused nuisance to neighbours, as the grounds for a possession order by the landlord against his mother, who was a secure tenant.

R v Kensington and Chelsea Royal London Borough Council, ex parte Grillo (1995)

The court found that councils are not under a duty to give reasons for insisting that accommodation offered to a housing applicant are suitable for their needs.

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Oliver Fisher recently successfully re-tendered for their contract to provide Housing Advice in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Shortlisted as the “Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year”

Russell Conway was this recently short-listed by the L.A.P.G. as the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in the Housing Category and was recently nominated as the Human Rights Lawyer of the Year.