Client: East Hertfordshire District Council v Michael Johnson
Date: November 2018
Fee Earner: Simon Braun
In this matter, Simon Braun acted for EHDC and Mr Johnson appealed to the Judge against a finding that the Council made against him that he was intentionally homeless. The matter went to a full Appeal. The case by Mr Johnson was that the Council was wrong to find that he was intentionally homeless due to his illness and due to their duties under the Equality Act 2010. He also argued that the Council did not properly follow the guidance set out in The Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities. Simon Braun argued that the Council had acted reasonably, lawfully, rationally and proportionately.
This case was also unusual in that lawyers for Mr Johnson argued that they were entitled to see the advice provided to the Council, and that it was not covered by the legal professional privilege. Simon successfully argued that this was not the case. Any other result could have had a profound impact across a huge number of future cases given the significance of privilege in common law.
Perrin Myddelton successfully defended an appeal on “intentional homelessness” which has wide relevance to local authorities and also concerns the issue of legal professional privilege. Having heard submissions, the Judge dismissed all grounds and found that the Local Authority were perfectly entitled to make findings that Mr Johnson was intentionally homeless. The outcome of this case successfully protected the interests of the council and the judgement that it was entitled to make the decision it did was upheld. This has wider relevance to other Councils.