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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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HOUSING: McCann v UK
Date:23 MAY 2008

(European Court of Human Rights; 13 May 2008)

The husband had been evicted from his local authority home under the summary procedure available to a landlord if one joint tenant serves notice to quit. The husband complained that the eviction proceedings, brought in accordance with the authoritys domestic violence policy, had breached his human rights. In particular the husband alleged that in asking his ex-wife to sign a notice to quit, thereby ending the couples joint tenancy of the authority property and terminating the husbands right to remain in the property with immediate effect, the authority had given no consideration to his relationship with his children, who stayed with him 3 nights a week.

Any person at risk of losing his home, which was a most extreme form of interference with the right to respect for ones home, should be able to have the proportionality of the measure determined by an independent tribunal, even if under domestic law the right of occupation had come to an end. If the authority had sought to evict the husband in accordance with the statutory scheme relating to secure tenants, it would have had to apply for a possession order, and the husband could then have asked the court to consider his circumstances, including the need to provide accommodation for his children and whether his wife had in reality left the house because of domestic violence. In the course of the procedure the authority had in fact chosen to follow, the authority had not given any consideration to the husbands right to respect for his home and the ensuing possession proceedings or judicial review proceedings had not provided any opportunity for an independent tribunal to examine whether the husbands loss of his home had been proportionate to the legitimate aims pursued.