Possession orders in light of the Supreme Court decision in McDonald v McDonald [2016] UKSC 28

The Supreme Court has made a landmark decision on human rights and property law in connection with possession proceedings. The Supreme Court has held in the case of McDonald v McDonald [2016] UKSC 28, ruling on the issue that was left unanswered in Manchester City Council v Pinnock [2011] 2 AC 104 that a Court is not required to consider the proportionality when evicting a residential occupier when a claim is made for possession under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

In coming to this decision the Supreme Court stated “To hold otherwise would involve the Convention effectively being directly enforceable as between private citizen so as to alter their contractual rights and obligations, whereas the purpose of the Convention is…to protect citizens from having their rights infringed by the state.” Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 cannot, therefore, be read so as to allow for a proportionality exercise to be undertaken. Cases in which it would be justifiable to refuse, as opposed to postpone, a possession order are very few and far between.

If you wish for any further advice and guidance on possession orders or property matters, please contact Kate Andrews on 0207 355 6063 or Faiza Ahmad on 0207 355 6085, Partners in the Property Litigation Team.