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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 >> Das, R (on the application of) v London Rent Assessment Committee & Ors [2001] EWCA Civ 648 (30 April 2001)
URL: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2001/648.html
Cite as: [2001] EWCA Civ 648

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Neutral Citation Number: [2001] EWCA Civ 648
NO: C/2000/2154

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE
COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
(MR JUSTICE OWEN)

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
London WC2

Monday, 30th April 2001

B e f o r e :

LORD JUSTICE RIX
____________________

THE QUEEN
- v -
LONDON RENT ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE AND OTHERS
EX PARTE DILIP KUMAR DAS

____________________

Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of
Smith Bernal Reporting Limited
180 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2HD
Telephone No: 0171-421 4040 Fax No: 0171-831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

____________________

MR DILIP KUMAR DAS, the Applicant in person
____________________

HTML VERSION OF JUDGMENT
____________________

Crown Copyright ©

    Monday, 30th April 2001

  1. LORD JUSTICE RIX: This is an application by Mr Dilip Kumar Das for permission to appeal from the judgment of Owen J on 12th May 2000, refusing Mr Das an adjournment of a hearing of his application for permission to appeal on that day and thus dismissing it.
  2. The matter arises in this way. Mr Das is the tenant of premises in Kingston upon Thames at 25 Beauford Road, and he was subject to his landlord's application to the rent officer for a registration of a fair rent. On 11th August 1997, the rent officer found a fair rent to be 35 per week. Both parties I think objected to that decision and referred it to the London Rent Assessment Committee who, in the event on 11th November 1998 raised the rent in question still further to a sum of 42.50. The Committee held a hearing at which both parties attended. It inspected the premises in question and also other premises. Mr Das was invited to attend those inspections but, as I understand from the papers before me, declined. Mr Das requested reasons from the Committee and he received those reasons, which I think are dated 11th January 1999, on 14th January 1999.
  3. He then had a three-month period during which he could apply, if he saw fit, for judicial review of that decision. He did apply for judicial review, both of the decision of the Rent Assessment Committee and the decision of the Rent Officer albeit that had been superseded, by an application dated 23rd August 1999. Prima facie that was over four months out of time.
  4. In his application Mr Das set out both his substantive grounds for judicial review and also his reasons for the delay of over four months in filing that application. His explanation for the delay covered the following area of submission. He said that the Rent Assessment Committee had delayed for two months in sending their reasons. I have already stated that those reasons had been received by Mr Das on 14th January. He said that he had difficulty in finding a solicitor. He said that he had a seven-week fruitless correspondence with the Rent Assessment Committee to obtain the minutes of the hearing on 6th November 1998, and he spent time looking for a better solicitor because his first solicitor was not experienced in judicial review. He said he spent time in correspondence with the Administrative Court concerning the three-month deadline, about which it should be noted that he knew: see the Administrative Court's letter to him of 30th April 1999, whose receipt was endorsed by him on it as of 5th May 1999. That letter points out that there is a place on the judicial review application form to explain why the application is out of time. That was plainly because of some previous correspondence or conversations concerning the question.
  5. Mr Das' reasons for the delay also refer to spending time researching the case at London University Library, further correspondence with the Administrative Court concerning the new CPR regime which, as we know, came into effect on 26th April 1999, further time spent in seeking Legal Aid, time spend in preparation on the bundle and time spent in drafting and researching in general.
  6. His application went before Burton J in the first instance on paper on 2nd October 1999. Burton J concluded that he could see no extenuating grounds for the delay beyond April 1999, and he added that in any event the substantive case for judicial review was such that he would not have granted permission.
  7. Mr Das then sought an oral hearing. On 4th April 2000 such a hearing was fixed before Jackson J. Mr Das did not attend because it appears that he was not notified of it. He therefore requested a further hearing, and one was fixed for 12th May 2000, about which he was notified. Nevertheless, on 8th May 2000 Mr Das asked for that hearing to be adjourned. He had two main concerns in that request, one being that the 20 minutes that he was allotted on 12th May would not suffice him; the other was that in any event he wished his application to be adjourned until after 2nd October 2000 when the Human Rights Act 1998 was due to come came into effect because he wished to raise a Human Rights Act point under the Convention, ie that he did not receive a fair hearing of the rent assessment, in which respect he wished to rely on Article 6.1 of the ECHR.
  8. His application to adjourn, which was not granted in advance of the hearing, was renewed to Owen J on 12th May but was declined, as was his renewed application for permission for judicial review. Owen J, like Burton J before him, was not able to discern any good reason for the delay put forward by Mr Das.
  9. Today, Mr Das has appeared before me in person and has presented some well-prepared papers, for which I am grateful. He has addressed me orally both on the question of the delay in his application and also to some extent on the underlying merits of his application for judicial review. It appears that in that respect his main concern is that the proceedings before the Rent Officer were not jurisdictionally well-based and that he had no oral hearing before that officer, although I note from page 118 of the bundle that on 6th June 1997 the Rent Officer had written to Mr Das saying that he had a right to a meeting, known as consultation, which he could apply for, but if there was no such request he would go ahead and register a fair rent, which is what appears to have happened. I say that in passing because the question that I am primarily concerned with is whether Mr Das has established good reason for there being a delay of over four months in making his application in the first place. As I have already mentioned, Mr Das knew all about the three-month time limit by at latest 5th May 1999, on receipt of the Administrative Court's letter to him of 30th April.
  10. Despite the various grounds for the delay put forward by Mr Das, both in writing and documents before me, and in his submissions today, I have to tell Mr Das that in my judgment I can see no good reason for the delay beyond the three months allowed. No doubt points needed to be researched, and so forth, but in the end the three-month deadline was known about and in effect Mr Das sought to put in his application in his own time rather than seeking to comply with the time limit of which he was aware. I regret therefore and I know he will be disappointed by my judgment, but I see no good reason for extending the three-month limit to more than twice that length, in effect to nearly seven and a half months, so as to render Mr Das' application in time. Nor do I see any reason why Owen J should have adjourned the hearing of 12th May 2000. That hearing, albeit it was initially marked for 20 minutes, was sufficient for the judge to deal with the matter, and in my judgment Mr Das was not entitled to have the matter adjourned until after 2nd October 2000. I would add that I cannot see any unfairness of procedure at all in the proceedings about which Mr Das complained. I do not believe that there is an article 6.1 point in this matter.
  11. Similarly with Burton J, to the extent that I have considered the underlying grounds of the application for judicial review, I do not think that there was in any event any realistic prospect of success in that regard either either.
  12. In the circumstances this application for permission to appeal is dismissed.
  13. (Application for permission to appeal dismissed)


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URL: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2001/648.html