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High Court judge throws out application to commit council housing officers

A man who sought to make a committal application against Royal Borough of Greenwich housing officers has had a series of judicial review applications dismissed as without merit and been ordered to pay costs.

Kingsley Edward sought to challenge Greenwich’s decisions to suspend and then exclude him from the housing register and alleged that senior housing lawyer Jo Elliott knowingly made a false statement in the acknowledgment of service and that three false and/or deliberately misleading statements were caused to be made by Coral Sewell, the access and allocations manager.

Mrs Justice Lang said in Edward v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2017] EWHC 1112 that Edward “failed to establish a strong prima facie case that…the summary grounds of defence contained false and/or deliberately misleading statements”.

Taking into account earlier judgments in the case she found “there is no public interest in taking contempt proceedings against” Greenwich or its officers.

Greenwich successfully applied for cost of £3,920 plus VAT.

On Edward's renewed attempt at judicial review of Greenwich’s actions, Lang J noted in Edward, R (on the application of) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2017] EWHC 1113 that the council declined to take any part “on the grounds that it was not appropriate for it to waste further public funds on a completely meritless claim”.

Permission to apply for judicial review was refused on the papers by HH Judge Coe in February, who concluded the claim was an abuse of process.

However, Edward sought to pursue it in grounds of unlawfulness and misapplication of the Greenwich’s allocation scheme, violation of the Data Protection Act 1996 and of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The judge decided: “The claimant has failed to establish any arguable grounds for judicial review, and so his application for permission is refused. This is yet another wholly unmeritorious claim which he has made against the defendant in respect of its housing decisions, and I consider that this claim should be designated as totally without merit.”

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