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England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions

You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions >> Fradkina, R (on the application of) v London Borough Of Barnet [2001] EWCA Civ 2071 (21 December 2001)
Cite as: [2001] EWCA Civ 2071

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Neutral Citation Number: [2001] EWCA Civ 2071


The Royal Courts of Justice
The Strand
Friday 21 December 2001

B e f o r e :

Vice President of the Court of Appeal, Civil Division


on the application of
FRADKINA Claimant/Applicant


The Applicant appeared on her own behalf
The Respondent did not appear and was not represented



Crown Copyright ©

    Friday 21 December 2001

  1. LORD JUSTICE SIMON BROWN: The applicant came to this country from the former Soviet Union in 1990, following the Chernobyl disaster. She was accompanied by her parents and two children and since then has sought council accommodation, without great satisfaction, from a number of London boroughs.
  2. I am not, however, concerned today with any matters prior to 8 June 2001, the date upon which the respondent borough wrote to the applicant, offering her and her family accommodation at 57 Russell Road, London NW9. That is a leased property with a minimum five-year lease and the possibility of extension. The applicant regarded the offer as inadequate, not least as being insufficiently permanent and secure, and she rejected it. Moreover, although the letter expressly notified her of a right to seek a review of the decision within 21 days, she did not avail herself of that opportunity. Rather she sought permission to apply for judicial review of the respondent's refusal to offer her permanent and secure accommodation, as opposed to what she appears to regard as temporary. She sought, not least, to rely upon the unreported, relatively recent decision of this court in R v Newham on the application of Bibi 26 April 2001 [2001] EWCA Civ 607.
  3. The respondent's acknowledgement of service set out its grounds for contesting her claim for judicial review and included the following assertions:
  4. "The Claimant's assertion that she has been offered temporary accommodation by virtue of the Defendant's letter dated 8th June 2001 is inaccurate in that the property at 57 Russell, Road, London, NW9 is a leased property with a minimum of 5 years on the lease and the possibility of extension.
    The Claimant has a right of appeal against the offer contained in the Defendant's letter . . . but has failed to appeal and it is submitted that by not appealing the Claimant has failed to avail herself of a possible adequate remedy.
    The Claimant claims to have refused the Defendant's offer of property at 57 Russell Road because she expected an offer of permanent accommodation. Further, she claims that her expectation arises out of the Court of Appeal judgment [in Bibi]. The Defendant submits that the claim is misconceived in that the Claimant has failed to show that any promises of permanent accommodation were made by the Defendant or that such promises (which are denied) gave rise to a legitimate expectation. In the Newham case, it was common ground between the parties that Newham Council had erroneously made promises to provide permanent accommodation and that case concerned the attempts by Newham Council to renege on its promises.
    In the Newham case it was also expressed as common ground that the Housing Acts do not impose a duty upon Local Authorities to provide security of tenure as per the decision of the House of Lords in R v Brent LBC, ex parte Awua (1995) 3 WLR 215.
    The Defendant submits that it has not made any promises to provide permanent accommodation such as to give rise to a legitimate expectation by the Claimant of such permanent accommodation.
    The Defendant further submits that in accordance with ... ex parte Awua ... it does not owe the claimant any duty to provide security of tenure only a duty to secure that accommodation becomes available for her occupation.
    The Defendant will further submit that by the offer of accommodation at 57 Russell Road ... it has discharged its duty to secure that accommodation becomes available for her occupation. The claimant has unreasonably rejected the offer and bases her rejection on the misinterpretation of a court of appeal case and a misunderstanding of the duty of the Defendant under the Housing Acts."
  5. Newman J on 10 July refused the applicant's paper application for permission to apply for judicial review in these brief terms:
  6. "This application is entirely misconceived and devoid of merit for each of the reasons given in the Acknowledgement of Service served by the London Borough of Barnet."
  7. On 29 August Silber J made an order in these terms:
  8. "1. The permission application be adjourned generally...
    "2. The Claimant have liberty to amend her claim form and to swear a further witness statement to explain:-
    (a) why the accommodation at 57 Russell Road offered by the Defendant to the Claimant in the letter of 8th June is dangerous and unfit to live in
    (b) why the Defendant did not have title to that accommodation and/or was not entitled to offer that accommodation to the Claimant
    (c) the relevance and the probative value to the present application for judicial review of the order of Master Trench made in the Queen's Bench action between the Claimant and the Defendant produced at the present hearing."
  9. I need read no more of it.
  10. On 2 November Stanley Burnton J (not, be it noted, Burton J, who had had occasion to refuse an earlier judicial review application by this applicant in May 2000) refused the renewed oral application. Having referred to Silber J's order enabling the applicant to put in further evidence on certain matters, he said this:
  11. "She did not put in that evidence. Having heard what she had to say today it seems to me that there is no real prospect for coherent evidence on those points being adduced or being relevant. In those circumstances, it seems to me that it would be unkind to allow this case to go any further, there being no prospect of success."
  12. The applicant now seeks permission to appeal to this court against that refusal of permission to bring judicial review proceedings.
  13. There is, I fear, nothing in this application, either under the conventional principles of domestic administrative law or under the Human Rights Act. Indeed, there are two complete answers to the claim. First, and most fundamentally, there is simply no sound basis advanced for impugning in point of law the decision of the respondent authority to offer the applicant and her family accommodation at these particular premises. Secondly, and in any event, the right of review, of which the applicant was expressly notified in the offer letter of 8 June, constituted a clearly more appropriate alternative remedy and of itself therefore would shut out her judicial review application.
  14. The fact is, as Newman J observed when initially he had this application on the documents, it is entirely misconceived and devoid of merit. I do not expect Mrs Fradkina to understand, let alone accept, the basis on which this court rejects her application. Reject it, however, I must. It is dismissed.
  15. ORDER: Application refused

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