2 new offices opening

May 8th, 2013

Hello everyone.

We are proud to announce that we have opening 2 new office in Harrow and Ealing, check the website for the full address and contact details.


Watford team

ARKrights Family Team

September 14th, 2012

The Family Team has assisted many client’s recently achieve their desired outcome – whether it is a Supervision Order, Residence or a favourable financial settlement within divorce. Some of our more notable cases are set out below; they have been anonymised to retain the confidentiality of our client’s.

Homosexual Couple and Adoption

In this very interesting case, the above couple were foster carers for the Local Authority. It appeared to them that it was the Local Authority’s plan to allow their foster child (X) to remain with them following the making of Care and Placement Orders. The Local Authority however, later indicated that this was no longer their intention as X had 2 siblings who had been adopted previously and they wished to place the child with their carer (referred to as adoptive mother herein). Assessments conducted on both the foster carers and the adoptive mother were very positive and the Local Authority decided to support the adoptive mother in this instance. The facts of this case were unusual in that the child had not met her siblings and indeed had no knowledge that she even existed – proceedings with respect to them concluded many years ago. The placement was the only home that the child had known and for this reason, the foster carers were both granted a Special Guardianship Order for the child.

Removal from the Jurisdiction

Again, a very unusual and interesting case within which we acted for the Maternal Grandmother and Father who both felt that Mother was not able to care for the child (again, referred to as X). The Mother had attempted to commit suicide on 3 occasions recently and it was thought that she had a problem with drink and drugs. The family had been known to the Local Authority for some time and the Local Authority had severe concerns as the child X suffered from selective mutism, meaning that she only spoke to some individuals and her condition was so severe that she did not speak at school or in public generally. The Local Authority were concerned that this was due to a trauma that she had suffered.

Both Maternal Grandmother and Father were from Australia. The Mother and child resided in this Country.  

Following the Mother’s suicide attempts, the Maternal Grandmother travelled from Australia to care for her granddaughter and daughter. It was agreed with the Local Authority that she would not allow the child alone with the mother for any period whatsoever. This agreement worked for a few weeks until the Mother attacked the Maternal Grandmother causing her to flee her daughters home and reside temporarily with her sister.


This triggered the Maternal Grandmother’s applications to the Court for emergency injunctive relief to prevent her daughter from using or threatening violence against her. She also sought for her granddaughter to be placed with her and permission for her to leave the jurisdiction with her granddaughter, which was supported by the Local Authority.

Upon hearing of these applications, the Father travelled from Australia also and joined the Maternal Grandmother’s application. They were both granted permission to remove the child temporarily whilst investigations were conducted in Australia. Extensive contact was agreed for Mother in the interim which included the Father paying for Mother to travel to Australia to visit her daughter; all of which he happily agreed.

Prior to the final hearing, it was recorded that the child was doing brilliantly in Australia – she began to speak to school staff and other pupils almost immediately. It was noted also that she appeared to have a very good relationship with her paternal and maternal family and met with them all regularly, which was promoted by Father and Maternal Grandmother. The Mother on the other hand ceased to engage in proceedings completely and did not seek to establish any form of contact with her daughter.

The inevitable conclusion of this case was that Father and Maternal Grandmother were granted a Residence Order for the child and leave to remove her permanently from the jurisdiction.


Family, Housing and Fraud

Again, very unusual and interesting indeed. Our client lived alone and in 2006 she started to experience problems paying her bills … etc. She had a very good relationship with her niece at the time, who agreed to assist her with her finances on the condition that the property is transferred to her at a later date. Both parties said that they would consider this and in 2007 an agreement broadly in the above terms was agreed.

It was later found that in 2006, one year before the above agreement, that our client’s niece had fraudulently transferred the property to her name and also obtained a secure charge (mortgage) against it. In 2011, the client received a letter from her niece and having received no monies whatsoever from her niece as per the above agreement, saying that the mortgage is in arrears due to her non-payment and that possession proceedings are to be initiated shortly.

Soon after this matter was investigated by the police who we believe have now charged her with Fraud.

This case is very unfortunate as it now involves the client needing to defend proceedings for possession of her home and bring an action to retain the legal and beneficial interest in her home.  This case is still ongoing …


Supervision Orders

We have recently assisted 3 happy families retain their children in their care and the Local Authority agreeing to seek Supervision Orders only. As you can appreciate, they were delighted, as were we.


A new year and a new blog for ARKrights.

February 1st, 2012

A new year signalled reflection on the past 12 months’ achievements for ARKrights. The firm has been gradually expanding and the team are very excited about the challenges and changes that lie ahead in 2012. Of particularly notability has been the housing team’s significant amount of reported cases, some of which are detailed below:


Ms Wacey-Germaine v United Kingdom [2011] ECHR 2325

Ms Wacey-Germaine applied to Luton Borough Council as homeless in 2006. It accepted that she was owed the main housing duty under Housing Act 1996 Part 7 and it provided non-secure temporary accommodation. In 2009 it served notice to quit and claimed possession referring to rent arrears of over £9000. Ms Wacey-Germaine sought to pursue an Article 8 human rights defence to the claim, based on her personal circumstances. A district judge made a possession order at a summary hearing, a circuit judge refused permission to appeal against that order, and possession was obtained. Ms Wacey-Germaine complained to the European Court of Human Rights. It asked the parties: Was the interference with the applicant’s right to respect for her family life or home, within the meaning of Article 8(1) of the Convention, necessary in terms of Article 8(2)? The UK Government offered 5000 euros in satisfaction of her claims for damages and costs which Ms Wacey-Germaine accepted. On the basis of that settlement, the court ended its examination of the complaint.


Karaj v Three Rivers DC [2011] EWCA Civ 768


Ward and Rimer LJJ granted permission to appeal on whether a failure to follow the proper rules regarding the contracting out of the review process invalidates the (entire) review itself.  Three Rivers DC had contracted out their reviews to a well-known contractor.  Before HHJ Faber, the argument had been unsuccessful. Permission was refused by the MR on the papers but granted after a renewed application for permission on the basis that here there is an appeal which has a real prospect of success.  The court also noted that it would apply the lower threshold to permission because the matter could not be raised on review. HHJ Faber’s analysis was effectively the first such judicial consideration of the contracting out point.


Watford Community Housing Trust –v- Personal Representatives of Elizabeth Chalmers reported on 14th January 2011


In 1967, Watford BC let a four-bedroom, semi-detached house to William Chalmers. In 1980, by operation of law, he became a secure tenant. In 1996, he died. His wife, Elizabeth Chalmers, automatically succeeded to the secure tenancy under HA 1985 s87. In 2004, she died and there could be no further succession. However, her granddaughter, as executor of the will, remained in the premises paying rent to the local authority. In 2007, Watford Community Housing Trust became the landlord of the property as a result of a large-scale, voluntary transfer of Watford BC’s entire housing stock. It was accepted that, as an occupying personal representative of the former secure tenant, the granddaughter had become the assured tenant of the premises.


In January 2009, the housing trust brought a claim for possession, relying on HA 1988 Sch 2, Ground 9 (suitable alternative accommodation). Its motivation was under-occupation and the need for larger family homes in the borough. It was agreed that the granddaughter had resided in the premises from her birth in 1968 and that she suffered from depression and panic attacks. The trust made offers of five other premises which it claimed were suitable alternative accommodation. The granddaughter refused to view any of them. She defended the claim by arguing that she did not want to leave her home of 43 years and none of the properties offered was suitable alternative accommodation.


District Judge Gill dismissed the claim for possession. In relation to the mandatory factors contained in Part III of Schedule 2, he held as follows: Proximity to work was fulfilled since the tenant, when she worked, did so normally in central London and the move would only involve her having an extra 100 yards or so to the nearest station. In respect of means, the alternative accommodation was cheaper. As to the extent, the final property offered was a good and spacious flat. However, it did not have a garden. The green space around the block was not remotely suitable as a replacement for her garden where she could relax and tend to her flowers, plants and where her cats could roam. As to the character or environment, the alternative accommodation and her current home were ‘chalk and cheese’. The alternative property was on an estate which had been the subject of adverse press reports over the past decade, whereas her current home was in a quiet and secluded corner next to a large park. She had a front and back garden. After carrying out a balancing exercise he found that the alternative property was not suitable and so he did not need to consider whether it was reasonable to make a possession order. He dismissed the claim.


Odera –v- Iqbal –  Luton County Court


The claimant was the assured shorthold tenant of a room in a three-bedroom house with shared, common amenities. From August 2007, she lived there with her 11-year-old daughter. The defendant was the landlord. There was no written agreement. Ms Odera claimed that throughout her tenancy the defendant harassed her by entering the premises unannounced and without warning. In January 2008, he gave her a defective notice seeking possession. She began looking for alternative accommodation. On 17 February 2008, she packed her belongings and told the defendant that she was on her way to collect the keys for her new accommodation. However, the new landlord would not give her the key to the promised accommodation as her deposit was short by £60. She returned to the premises about 8 pm. Later, the defendant and another man removed her belongings and placed them outside the front of the property. He dragged both the claimant and her daughter out of the bedroom, down the stairs and outside. They remained there for approximately an hour and a half. Although the police were called, they accepted the defendant’s word that the claimant had no right to remain in the premises, but requested that he store her belongings until she could collect them the next day. She spent the night in emergency accommodation, and then stayed with her sister in Watford for three days. When the claimant returned to the premises to collect her belongings, she discovered that they had been discarded in the back garden and were soaked and rain damaged.


HHJ Kay QC accepted the claimant’s evidence. He found that she had been subject to harassment from the defendant after the expiry of the invalid notice to quit on 6 February until her eviction on 17 February. The judge accepted that the claimant and her daughter were assaulted. He found that although the claimant had hoped, was ready to and intended to vacate the premises, she had not formally surrendered the tenancy; she had not handed over the keys and did not do any unequivocal act amounting to a surrender. The judge accepted that her belongings were damaged in the way alleged. He ordered an enquiry concerning damages for the value of the belongings, to be the subject of a later hearing. In the interim, he awarded general damages of: £500 for breach of covenant for quiet enjoyment and trespass for the two weeks before eviction; £1,000 for the assault and method of eviction; £1,500 aggravated damages, particularly given that the claimant’s daughter witnessed, and was subject to, an assault; and £1,000 exemplary damages because the defendant sought to increase his income by obtaining new tenants who could pay the full rent for the entirety of the premises. Subsequently, the parties agreed a figure of £750 by way of special damages.