The Liver Building

2020 Housing Disrepair Conference


Speaker: Various

Date: Wednesday 26th February, 2020

Time: 09:30 - 15:00

Areas of Law: Civil Litigation; Property

Liverpool Marriott Hotel
1 Queen Square, Liverpool

Course Code: S4287

Registration & refreshments

Welcome & introduction ~ Sarah Mansfield, GWL

Disrepair: Protocol, Pleadings and Allocation ~ Gary Lewis, Cobden Chambers

  • Overview of the steps often overlooked in the Pre-Action Protocol
  • Tips for pleadings (including the use of Part 18 Requests)
  • Preparing for allocation

Tips for Tenants ~ Nina Patel & Jonathan Davidson, Solicitor Broudie, Jackson Cantor

  • Repairs could be contractual if not s11
  • Issues of notice – not just checking repair records, did housing/rent officer know, calls to local offices, any visits to the property by officers etc.


Defending S.11 claims: Tips for landlords ~ Josephine Morton, Brabners

  • Access injunctions
  • Allocation
  • Strike out applications
  • Case studies

A Surveyor's Eye View ~ David Walter

  • The role of a surveyor both joint and single and the role they play in disrepair cases
  • Specific issues identified at inspection and content of surveyor reports, including liability under section 11, whether any other party is responsible eg leaseholder/freeholder cases, reliability of content and the use of scott schedules, costs and how defects should be pleaded, especially damp claims
  • The imminent introduction of Fitness for Human Habitation standards and how this is likely to affect future inspections and how they may be included within future reports and scott schedules


Homes Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018: 12 months on ~ Louise Murphy, Knox Ellis

  • Example disrepair claim / scenario
  • How that scenario would be dealt with pre HFFHH act i.e. statutory and contractual obligations
  • How that scenario it would be dealt with post HFFHH act i.e. existing and new statutory and contractual obligations
  • The legal points a tenant would have to prove to succeed in a claim under the new fitness provisions

General Disrepair Defences/Counterclaims ~ Rebecca Ackerley & Donald Fraser, Atlantic Chambers

  • Overview of general defences
  • Overview of the law on capacity and how this can relate to disrepair claims
  • Difference between capacity and vulnerability
  • Difference in procedure between disrepair defences and counterclaims
  • Interaction with expert reports and defending disrepair claims
  • Questions

Summary & thanks ~ Sarah Mansfield

Speaker Biographies

Rebecca Ackerley is a tenant at Atlantic Chambers. Her practice predominantly involves Chancery work, including contentious and non-contentious probate and contract law. She works extensively in the field of property litigation with a particular emphasis on landlord and tenant matters, both residential and commercial. Rebecca acts on both an advisory and advocacy basis relating to issues of disrepair arising out of tenancies. She has particular experience in acting for landlords, tenants and management companies in the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) with all issues arising out of leasehold leases (e.g. service charge / disrepair/ variations/appoint a manger /RTM/ enfranchisement) and appeals to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Tribunal).

Jonathan Davidson is a solicitor at Broudie Jackson Canter. He completed the Diploma in Law at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2004 and the Legal Practice Course at Liverpool John Moores in 2006, joining Broudie Jackson Canter the same year. Jonathan is highly experienced in dealing with tenants, with his case load consisting entirely of housing matters including disrepairs. Before training as a solicitor, Jonathan worked at the Whitechapel Centre for nine years helping people with drug and alcohol problems. He also acts as a mentor to law students at Liverpool universities and is a member of the North West Housing Law Practitioners Association.

Donald Fraser is a tenant at Atlantic Chambers. He has a traditional Chancery practice covering probate, insolvency, property matters and general contractual disputes. Donald has acted on behalf of numerous tenants in cases of alleged antisocial behaviour, where issues of both capacity and disrepair have arisen. He has advised regarding and appeared in several disputed applications to the Court of Protection for Deputyship orders.. Donald’s practice extends across the whole range of landlord and tenant matters, to include termination and renewal of business tenancies, leasehold enfranchisement, and service charge disputes.

Gary Lewis prior to joining Cobden Chambers, Gary lectured Commercial Law and Corporate Governance at the University of Liverpool and Criminal Law and Legal Skills at Edge Hill University. Gary successfully completed his pupillage under the guidance of both Kevin Musaheb and Paul Whatley in the areas of Chancery, Commercial and Housing. He receives private instructions and publicly funded work in respect of court appearances and paperwork (both contentious and non-contentious) on a range of matters including, amongst other things: general property litigation, trusts and estates, TOLATA applications, personal and corporate insolvency, directors’ duties, partnerships, contractual disputes and disrepair.

Sarah Mansfield is an experienced specialist and Partner in Guy Williams Layton and brings with her 23 years’ experience in Landlord and Tenant Law, Leasehold Law and Block Management, Housing Management, Environmental Law, Housing and Health and Safety, Regulation, Title Disputes, Nuisance and Trespass, Party Wall and Boundary Disputes, Contract Disputes, Judicial Review, Deprivation of Liberty and Human Rights Law. As well as being a founder member of the Law Clinic at Liverpool University, Sarah is an experienced Board Member and recent Committee Member of St Vincent’s Housing Association (now Mosscare St Vincent’s) she has just been reelected as a member of the Liverpool Law Society General Committee and is currently a Charitable Trustee for Merseyside Water Rescue.

Josephine Morton completed her training contract with specialist social housing firm Bremners and qualified in 2008 and joined Brabners in 2009 following the firm’s merger with Bremners. Josephine is a Senior Associate in the Housing & Regeneration team and specialises in contentious housing management, including a large housing disrepair caseload. Josephine’s client base ranges from small housing co-operatives to national Registered Providers throughout the North West and beyond. She also acts for private landlords.

Louise Murphys career in social housing law began in 2003 when she represented tenants in all areas of housing law including anti-social behaviour, disrepair, homelessness, judicial review, possession, injunctions and committals. Louise qualified as a solicitor in 2008 and moved to become a Partner at a prominent legal aid firm, where she headed the housing department. She has a wealth of experience in the County Court and has previously been instructed by the Official Solicitor. Louise joined Knox Ellis, who are now part of MSB Solicitors, in July 2017 and is a Senior Associate who predominately deals with social housing disrepair.

Nina Patel is a Director and Head of Housing & Welfare at Broudie Jackson Canter. She has a Diploma in Criminal Law and Justice from Leicester University and has now built her reputation as an acknowledged housing specialist, having dealt with many difficult and complex legal cases, particularly those arising from Mental Health or capacity issues. Nina joined Broudie Jackson Canter in 2001, having previously worked for the Public Defence Advocacy in Kentucky (USA) on appeals for defendants facing the death penalty.

David Walter commenced his career as an Articled Pupil in 1963, qualifying as a Chartered Building Surveyor in 1970. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 1981. He was employed for 6 years with a local authority, where his duties included the survey and maintenance of public sector property. He then joined a large national company where he was responsible for the management of a large portfolio of both domestic & commercial property. In 1981 he moved into private practice and in 1985 he became Building Surveying Partner with a large multi-disciplinary practice of Surveyors and Architects heading up a team of 18 surveyors. In 1981 David began acting as an Expert Witness with regard to Building Disputes, Professional Negligence matters. Also in 1981 David undertook his first inspection with regard to Housing Disrepair & has since undertaken several thousands of inspections with regard to Housing Disrepair and has seen the changes brought about in Legal Aid funding of cases and the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules and the Housing Disrepair Protocol. More recently he has seen an increase in the number of instructions to act as a Single Jointly Appointed Expert.



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