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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 >> Meghnagi v London Borough Of Hackney & Anor [2001] EWCA Civ 723 (16 May 2001)
URL: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2001/723.html
Cite as: [2001] EWCA Civ 723

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Neutral Citation Number: [2001] EWCA Civ 723
NO: C/2001/0220

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 TURNER)

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
London WC2

Wednesday, 16th May 2001

B e f o r e :

VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT OF APPEAL, CIVIL DIVISION
LORD JUSTICE SIMON BROWN

____________________

EVER ALAN MEGHNAGI
- v -
(1) LONDON BOROUGH OF HACKNEY
(2) SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE
ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS

____________________

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 EVER ALAN MEGHNAGI, the Applicant appeared in Person
____________________

HTML VERSION OF JUDGMENT
____________________

Crown Copyright ©

    Wednesday, 16th May 2001

  1. LORD JUSTICE SIMON BROWN: This is an application for permission to appeal against the order made by Turner J on 18th January 2001 refusing the applicant permission to apply for judicial review of a compulsory purchase order and general vesting declaration in respect of his property at 24 Lea Bridge Road, a property which appears to have been occupied by squatters who put it into a state of disrepair.
  2. The essential chronology is this. The compulsory purchase order was made initially by the respondent Borough of Hackney on 29th February 2000. Notice of that order was duly served on the applicant on 7th March. On 17th April the order was confirmed by the Secretary of State, the service of that notice as confirmed being effective on 15th July. Meantime, on 13th July, an advertisement had appeared in a defective form, to which I shall return. On 6th October 2000, a date referred to in the documents as 16th October, the council gave notice of the proposed making of a general vesting declaration which was duly made on 10th October, the vesting date being 7th November. The previous day, 6th November, the applicant had lodged his application for judicial review.
  3. The matter was dealt with by Turner J on 18th January 2001. At the hearing before Turner J the applicant sought to introduce a number of grounds of challenge which were not strictly included in his statement of grounds. The latter depended exclusively upon his assertion that he had received no notice as required by the statute either of the original making of the order or of its confirmation by the Secretary of State. At the hearing he applied, in addition, to rely on certain further arguments which were listed in his affidavit of 6th November: first, that the form of the advertisement was defective; second, that the statement of reasons given by the council was contradictory; third, that the statutory six-week time limit under sections 23 and 25 of the 1981 Act was contrary to the Human Rights Act 1998; and, fourthly, that there appears to have been some forgery of his and his wife's signatures in about 1998.
  4. Having identified and briefly considered those proposed additional grounds, the judge ruled that the applicant should be confined to the two original grounds. Those failed comprehensively in the light of an affidavit sworn in the proceedings on 14th November by one of the respondents' solicitors who made it plain that service, as required by sections 12 and 15 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981, had been properly effected in accordance with the provisions of section 6 of that Act; indeed, doubly so because notices had been served both at the property in question, 24 Lea Bridge Road, by leaving the documents there and at the applicant's last known address which was 15 Braydon Road.
  5. The applicant says, and he may well be right, that he actually never received any of those notices. He had by then moved to 149 Hampstead Way. He cannot, however, criticise the local authority in that regard. It was not until 31st August 2000 that he wrote to them for the first time on 149 Hampstead Way paper and thereafter the authority communicated with him at that address.
  6. Although the applicant complains that he was not allowed to adduce the further grounds of challenge, to my mind there is nothing in this complaint for two reasons: first, because, frankly, there was no substance in them, and secondly, very simply, because in any event the entire proposed judicial review challenge was doomed to fail because it falls foul of sections 23 and 25 of the 1981 Act. I need not set those out. In essence they require that the challenge be made by way of statutory application within an unextendable six weeks, and, as section 25 provides, a compulsory purchase order is not to be questioned in any other form of legal proceedings whatsoever.
  7. The strictness of that law has been made plain by the House of Lords in Smith v East Elloe [1956] AC 736 and again by the Court of Appeal in R v Secretary of State ex parte Ostler [1977] QB 122. As the applicant points out, in R v Carmarthen District Council ex parte Blewin Trust Ltd and Another [1990] 1 EGLR 29, Nolan J, as he then was, recognised the possibility of some tempering of that severity were grounds of conscience to require it, but the circumstances in which he envisaged that were strikingly different from those of the present case. He envisaged such a principle availing the owner, if {which proved not to be so in that case) justice demanded it because the scheme eventually proposed was so wholly and entirely different from that which was the subject of the original vesting order that objectors could be said to have been deprived of the opportunity to voice their objections to it. It is not, of course, a principle which could come to the assistance of someone who, for want of receiving the statutory notices (because he had not given an up-to-date address) has not had an opportunity of voicing objections that he could otherwise have voiced at the time the order was made.
  8. As to the proposed further grounds, the fact that the advertisement was defective caused, in my judgment, no conceivable prejudice to this applicant. The document published does indeed refer to 24 Lea Bridge Road, and there is no whisper of a suggestion that had it been in the correct form any different result would have that ensued.
  9. As to the applicant's claim that he had already offered to do, and to do effectively and quickly, that which the council contend embarked on the compulsory purchase procedure to achieve, namely the reinstatement of the property, that is not, of course, a matter with which this Court could ever get involved on a legal challenge. That goes exclusively to the merits of the proposal.
  10. As to the Human Rights point there can, in my judgment, be no possible quarrel with the statutory six-week time limit and still less, given the tempering of the provision by the decision in ex parte Blewin Trust Ltd.
  11. The forgery complaint is, at best, in a wholly embryonic form. There is scant evidence of forgery, let alone involvement by the local authority. A more speculative and less promising ground of challenge it would be difficult to find.
  12. Although I recognise the applicant will be disappointed, there is no basis upon which he could ever succeed here in a judicial review challenge either on the original grounds or on any of the other grounds canvassed. His application for leave to appeal must be refused.
  13. (Application for permission to appeal refused)


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