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“Clients feel that Nick is really fighting their corner”Chambers & Partners 2019
“A wonderful housing lawyer who gives very detailed and full advice and leaves no stone unturned”Chambers & Partners 2019
Nick is a social welfare lawyer specialising in housing & homelessness, community care, employment and public law. He is committed to legal aid work, and to equality & discrimination cases.
Nick previously worked as a caseworker at a number of community law centres in south London, before doing a common law pupillage focusing on criminal defence work. Chambers & Partners 2019 describes him as an emerging talent in the social housing field, saying: “his thriving practice takes in homelessness appeals, disrepair claims and possession proceedings, among others”. He accepts direct access work in appropriate cases.
Nick specialises in representing tenants and homelessness applicants. He has an excellent knowledge of possession, disrepair and unlawful eviction, and has a special interest in running technical defences to Section 21 claims.
He also has a busy homelessness practice in county court appeals and judicial reviews.
Before becoming a barrister Nick worked as a housing caseworker at Brixton Advice Centre and Brighton Housing Trust, and as a volunteer at South West London Law Centres. He was a duty adviser at Lambeth County Court. Through his involvement in local housing campaigns and work at law centres Nick has direct experience of the housing office, and is well-placed to advise on practical considerations in homelessness cases.
Nick’s background in criminal defence work makes him an excellent trial advocate. His experience of the criminal courts also gives him a particular advantage in committal applications.
He provides training to housing solicitors and caseworkers and is very happy for firms and law centres to approach him with requests for seminars.
- Anon v Lewisham (2018) – section 204 appeal about whether there is a separate suitability test for short-term homelessness accommodation, and the council’s duties to children (commentary here);
- R (Lindsay) v Watford  EWHC 722 (Admin) – judicial review about whether hotel accommodation had been a lawful performance of the section 188(1) duty (case digest here);
- Thomas v Lambeth (2017) – a homelessness appeal in which the court criticised NowMedical for its inadequate reports, which (wrongly) based their advice on the fact that the applicant didn’t suffer from more serious forms of mental ill-health (commentary here);
- R (A) v Lambeth (2017) – judicial review seeking interim accommodation for a transgender woman with refugee status on the basis of a breach of the PSED and failure to treat her non-medical issues as ‘other special reasons’ under s.189 (relief granted on the papers);
- A v Croydon (2017) – a successful County Court appeal where the applicant’s cancer diagnosis meant that he was deemed disabled under statute, and the authority had failed to comply with the PSED;
- A v Lambeth (2017) – ‘intentionality’ appeal where the local authority disbelieved the applicant and accused him of attempting to obtain social housing by fraud. A said that the inconsistencies in his account were due to learning difficulties. HHJ Madge ruled that the authority’s inquiries were so deficient (grounds 1 and 3) that it was difficult to decide whether the decision had been rational (ground 2);
- R (JO) v Hertsmere Borough Council (2016) – the local authority had issued a negative priority need decision and refused to accommodate pending review. On receiving counsel’s draft statement of facts and grounds challenging the refusal to provide interim accommodation the local authority not only agreed to accommodate, but withdrew its priority need decision;
- R (AU) v London Borough of Lambeth (2016) – succeeded in a homelessness appeal on the correct application of the ‘priority need’ test in light of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Hotak, Johnson & Kanu. The appellant suffered from asthma and depression.
- R (AR) v London Borough of Lambeth (2015) – succeeded in a contested application for interim relief in a s.188(3) judicial review.
Possession & disrepair
- K v Richmond Housing Partnership (2018) – appeal against a ground 7A possession order made at a summary hearing, arguing that there had been substantial defences under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 and Article 8 ECHR (settled at the appeal hearing);
- Lambeth v R (2018) – an Equality Act (disability discrimination) defence successfully defeated a ‘hoarding’ claim at trial;
- Forward v Aldwyck (2018) – junior counsel in a pending High Court appeal on breach of the Public Sector Equality Duty;
- F v Drury (2018) – successful appeal before HHJ Monty QC on whether section 11 repairing obligations applied where a court had retrospectively declared that an oral long lease between the parties was an assured tenancy;
- Westminster v T (2018) – Part 20 claim for a declaration that the local authority had inadvertently granted a new secure tenancy instead of notifying the occupant of a failed second succession (conceded after T obtained set-aside of the possession order and an injunction for re-entry);
- Hounslow v A (2017) – appeal against a finding that the tenant had breached the terms of a suspended order where he had paid large sums rather than weekly amounts (settled after contested permission hearing);
- V v Flindall (2017) – appeal about whether a tenant is estopped from putting the landlord to proof as to their interest in the land (HHJ Luba QC, County Court at Central London);
- YMCA v W (2017) – dispute about whether a room in a YMCA was let on a tenancy or a licence (settled before trial);
- London & Quadrant v B (2017) – suspended possession order (not to breach the terms of the tenancy agreement) in an abandonment case where the tenant had spent 130 weeks of a 138-week period away from the property;
- Bali v Manaquel Company Limited (Legal Action June 2016), Central London County Court – a novel technical defence to a possession claim that succeeded on appeal (commentary here);
- Manaquel Company Limited v Bali (2016) – subsequent possession claim struck out where the claim form indicated that no deposit had been taken, when it fact if had been returned to the tenant before service of the notice;
Nick was a duty adviser at Lambeth County Court.
Nick is frequently involved in bringing claims relating to children’s rights and adult social care. He has an excellent grasp of the eligibility criteria and substantive rights under the Children Act and Care Act, as well as a strong tactical insight into local authority decision making.
- R (FA) v Redbridge & SSHD  EWHC 2189 (Admin) – succeeded in two contested interim relief applications concerning the application of section 122 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (whether the local authority had reasonable grounds for believing that the Home Office could be required to provide asylum support). Interim relief ordered against both the local authority and the Home Office. Case summary here;
- R (CW) v Redbridge (2018) – emergency claim brought by a child in youth detention who stood to be homeless on his release date, but could not be released until accommodation had been arranged (settled after interim relief granted);
- R (MS) v Wandsworth (2017) – rationality challenge to a Care Act assessment where contemporaneous notes from the Claimant’s support worker contradicted the answers recorded by the social worker (settled after permission granted);
- R (AO) v Lambeth and Wandsworth (2017) – both local authorities had refused to assess a homeless child who spent the days at school in one borough, and the nights on the floor of an office in the other (settled after issue);
- R (O) v Lewisham (2016) – advising a ‘no recourse to public funds’ family on whether new information provided had ‘triggered’ a new urgent assessment in the last few hours before the local authority’s offices closed for Christmas;
- R (MM) v Lambeth (2016) – application for interim relief (assessments under the Care Act and Children Act and interim accommodation) granted on the papers;
- R (TJ) v Lambeth (2016) – advising in a ‘Windrush generation’ case: a complex inter-connected immigration, welfare benefits, housing and community care case where the family had lost its eligibility for mainstream benefits;
- R (AN) v Lambeth (2016) – advising in a proposed judicial review concerning the local authority’s power to use s.17 of the Children Act to prevent eviction where a family was subject to the benefits cap.
Employment & discrimination
Nick acts in unfair dismissal and discrimination claims in the Employment Tribunal, where he often appears for low-waged workers in the cleaning sector and other services industries. He works closely with a number of trade union branches and gives talks about legal developments at branch meetings.
Nick has particular expertise in trade union law: he previously worked at the UN’s International Labour Organization in Geneva where he researched and reported on national systems of social dialogue and labour inspection; and at the International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR) monitoring labour rights violations and giving technical advice and legal guidance to trade unions and NGOs.
In 2011 Nick was awarded an LLM with distinction in labour & employment law. His research focused on the causes of the poor legal protection of labour rights in the UK. He has written about employment law for the journal ‘International Union Rights‘ and ‘Socialist Lawyer‘ magazine (of which he is now the editor) and delivered a paper at the International Association of Democratic Lawyers’ congress in Brussels.
- F & ors v The AA (2018), Southampton ET – representing the lead claimants in a holiday pay claim brought by AA patrol workers (trade union announcement);
- RA v ISS UK Ltd (2017), London Central ET – a claim based on what the tribunal described as the “ingenious proposition” of bringing a Wages Act claim against the ‘parent company’ of a corporate structure where the worker was out-of-time to claim unfair dismissal but had ongoing employment in one of the group’s other sectors (i.e. treating the dismissal as an ongoing unlawful deduction from wages);
- AG v Julius Rutherfoord (2017), London Central ET – three-day race discrimination final hearing;
- HL v BMG Properties (2017), London Central ET – succeeded in an out-of-time application to set aside an ‘unless order’ that had resulted in strike-out.
Nick is an experienced Free Representation Unit representative.
- BA (Hons) Law with Politics, University of Manchester
- LLM in Labour Law (distinction), King’s College London
- BPTC, Kaplan Law School
- French (proficient)
- Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers (executive committee)
- Housing Law Practitioners Association
- International Centre for Trade Union Rights