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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 >> Allinson v Harrogate Borough Council [2002] EWCA Civ 682 (1 May 2002)
Cite as: [2002] EWCA Civ 682

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Neutral Citation Number: [2002] EWCA Civ 682

(His Honour Judge Taylor)

Royal Courts of Justice
London WC2
Wednesday, 1st May 2002

B e f o r e :


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(Computer Aided Transcript of the Palantype Notes of
Smith Bernal Reporting Limited, 190 Fleet Street,
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The Applicant appeared in person.
The Respondents did not appear and were not represented.



Crown Copyright ©

    Wednesday, 1st May 2002

  1. LORD JUSTICE BUXTON: This is an application for permission to appeal from an order of His Honour Judge Taylor in the Leeds District Registry dated 1st June 2001. That application to His Honour Judge Taylor was itself an appeal against an order of Deputy District Judge Ashton dated 12th December 2000. What Judge Ashton dealt with was an application on behalf of the applicant today, Mr Anthony Allinson, to set aside a statutory demand under section 268 of the Insolvency Act 1986 dated 16th August 2000. That was based upon an application to the county court under County Court Order 25 rule 12 to enforce an award of a review board of the Harrogate Borough Council dated 28th September 1999. That order was a determination that Mr Allinson had been overpaid housing benefit between 1994 and 1997 in the sum of 14,500 and that that sum should be retrieved from him.
  2. Judge Taylor's order was made, as I have said, as long ago as 1st June 2001. This application has been adjourned on several occasions out of deference to the ill-health that Mr Allinson suffers from and indeed still suffers from. As a second appeal, that is to say an appeal from a decision of His Honour Judge Taylor that was itself an appeal from the Deputy District Judge, before permission can be granted it has to be established that an important point of policy or principle is involved in the case. In my judgement no such point arises, nor can it be said that Judge Taylor was wrong in his determination.
  3. Mr Alison's fundamental complaint is that the decision upon which the County Court Order was based, that is to say the determination of the Housing Review Board in September 1999, was itself flawed because it was made by a Board that was composed of councillors of Harrogate Borough Council. He says that that arrangement was contrary to his human rights, and that under the Human Rights Act he ought have relief in that respect. Indeed, he has made applications to the High Court for permission to move for judicial review on that basis, those applications having been refused on 29th June 2000 by Toulson J and on 1st September 2000 by Owen J, no appeal having been brought from either of those decisions.
  4. The problem that Mr Alison has is this. First, it was not open to either Judge Taylor, or to the Deputy District Judge from whom he was hearing the appeal, to go behind the statutory demand in the sense of re-opening the procedure on which it was based. That is made quite clear by paragraph 12.3 of the Practice Direction on insolvency proceedings, which states:
  5. "Where the statutory demand is based on a judgment or order, the Court will not at this stage go behind the judgment or order and inquire into the validity of the debt nor, as a general rule, will it adjourn the application to await the result of an application to set aside the judgment or order."
  6. Mr Allinson complains that Harrogate Borough Council did not respect this procedure, as he was complaining about the Review Board's process. But it is to be noted that it only served its statutory demand upon him on 1st September 2000, once Owen J had dismissed the application for permission to apply for judicial review.
  7. Further, I have to say that I am not surprised that both Owen J and Toulson J dismissed those applications, even though the matter does not directly concern us this afternoon. The orders made by Harrogate were made before 2nd October 2000, and therefore were not covered by the Human Rights Act. Insofar as complaint is made about them on English common law grounds, at that time the composition of the Review Board in terms of membership by councillors was statutorily provided for by regulation 7 of the Housing Benefit Regulations 1986. Therefore, Mr Allinson is not in a position to challenge those decisions. But even if he had been, it would not have been open to Judge Taylor or to the judge from whom he was hearing the complaint or application about the statutory demand to reopen the question that had been before the Housing Review Board and the County Court.
  8. For those reasons, therefore, there is no basis upon which the Court of Appeal could intervene in this case, and I do not grant permission.
  9. Order: Application dismissed.

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