Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

Declaration of Incompatibility

The case of Sophie Dean and Others -v- Simon Mitchell and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities came before the King’s Bench Division at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 8 to 10 February 2023. CLP represented Mr Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell rented a piece of land from Rosemary Dean in 2000 so that he could live there in his coach. After Rosemary Dean died, the land was inherited by her daughters who continued the rental agreement with Mr Mitchell. In 2015 they applied for and obtained a Certificate of Lawful Use which amounts to the same thing as planning permission for the use of the land as a site for a caravan. Virtually immediately afterwards they served Mr Mitchell with a Notice to Quit. An attempt was made by us on behalf of Mr Mitchell to argue that the Mobile Homes Act (MHA) 1983 should apply to this case and that Mr Mitchell should have proper security of tenure. We were faced with a previous Court of Appeal Judgment in a case called Murphy -v- Wyatt which stated that the MHA 1983 did not apply where planning permission was obtained after the date that the rental agreement was entered into. We attempted to find ways of challenging this Judgment and this situation but eventually we had no alternative but, after possession action was taken against our client in the County Court by the landowners, to counterclaim to seek a declaration of incompatibility that Section 1 of the MHA 1983 (which applies in a situation where a site is protected because it has planning permission) is incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998 Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life and home) since security is not given to someone who lives on a site where planning permission has been obtained even though the agreement was entered into prior to planning permission being obtained.

Judgment is now reserved and we will report on the Judgment as soon as it is received.

The Barrister for Mr Mitchell was Stephen Cottle of Garden Court Chambers.