He is known to be a leading expert on all aspects of housing law and is determined to get the best outcome... He is phenomenally clever and incredibly sharp.

Overview

James was a former housing law solicitor admitted in 1992 before being called to the Bar in 1998. Since then he has become "one of the leading lights for social housing work" (Chambers and Partners 2010) and practises in all areas of housing law including: residential landlord and tenant, unlawful eviction and harassment, allocations and homelessness and injunctions. He specialises particularly in housing cases involving human rights issues, complex possession proceedings, homelessness appeals, and disputes involving multiple parties and agencies.

James is recommended for his “substantial experience in public law challenges against public bodies in the North” (Chambers and Partners 2012). He is regularly involved in public law and human rights cases across all areas of law, challenging decisions of public authorities and tribunals. This including judicial reviews relating to community care, with a particular interest in the interface of community care and asylum support, mental health, education, housing and homelessness. He advises on the impact and rights and obligations under the ECHR across all areas of practice.

One of James' most notable cases is the Supreme Court case of Manchester City Council v Pinnock [2010] UKSC 45, which held that proportionality of an eviction can be raised as a defence in claims brought by public authorities reversing three earlier decisions of the House of Lords. He also appeared in the House of Lords in McCann [2003] the leading test case on ASBOs.

Housing

James is recognised as a “leading expert on all aspects of housing law” (Chambers and Partners 2016) and his practice includes residential landlord and tenant (public/private). In particular it includes: possession proceedings, disrepair and housing related personal injury, unlawful eviction and harassment, judicial review, allocations and homelessness (Housing Act 1996 appeals), housing benefit, and injunctions.  He also represents trespassers, gypsy and traveller cases, and cases involving Mobile Homes Act 1983. James’ experience also includes enforcing private rented sector standards under the Housing Act 2004 and Environmental Protection Act 1990, cases involving disabled facilities grants, mortgage possessions, and property law generally.  He has experience of acting on behalf of those with diminished capacity through instructions from the Official Solicitor and in homelessness cases involving clients with mental health problems.

Public law (judicial review)

James is recommended for his “substantial experience in public law challenges against public bodies in the North” (Chambers and Partners 2012) and is regularly involved in public law and human rights cases across all areas of law. This involves challenging decisions of public authorities and tribunals, including judicial reviews relating to community care with a particular interest in the interface of community care and asylum support, mental health including MHRT delays, education and housing and homelessness. He advises on the impact and rights and obligations under the ECHR across all areas of practice.

Community care and mental health

James undertakes judicial review of community care and mental health decisions including failing to carry out assessments, unlawful eligibility criteria, the exclusion of persons subject to immigration control from community care services, failing to put care plans into effect, failing to provide services in an emergency and failing to ensure compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Court of Protection

James undertakes Court of Protection work and displacement of nearest relative cases.

Injunctions and breaches of injunction

James has a particular interest in the use of methods addressed apparently at Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB), including Public Spaces Protection Orders, being misused for social control.

James has experience of defending those against whom injunctions are sought and challenging existing injunction. This also extends to defending those against whom gang injunctions are sought and challenging existing gang injunctions. He has been instructed in a number of leading cases in the Court of Appeal concerning Article 6 challenges to the nature and extent of interim gang injunctions.  James also appeared in a challenge to a begging injunction brought by Leeds City Council in 2015.

Discrimination

James undertakes discrimination claims in goods and services relating to premises, and the conduct of public authorities.

Local government law

James has a particular interest in local authority powers and duties including compulsory purchase, planning, education and social services.

Personal information and privacy

James accepts instructions in relation to Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and breach of confidence claims.

Notable cases

Supreme Court and House of Lords
  • Scott v Southern Pacific Mortgages Ltd and Ors [2014] UKSC 52: Sale and leaseback;
  • Manchester City Council v Pinnock [2010] UKSC 45: Proportionality; and
  • R v Manchester Crown Court ex parte McCann [2003] IAC 787; [2002] UKHL 39: Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, ASBOs.
Court of Appeal
  • Murray v Lancashire Constabulary [2015] EWCA Civ 1174 (18 November 2015): Appeal against an interim injunction imposing prohibitions designed to prevent the commission of “gang related violence”;
  • Lancashire Constabulary v Wilson & Anor [2015] EWCA Civ 907 (21 July 2015);
  • Chief Constable of Lancashire v Wilson & Ors [2015] EWHC 2763 (QB) (14 July 2015);
  • Samuels v Birmingham City Council [2015] EWCA Civ 1051: Homelessness;
  • Jones v Canal And River Trust [2015] EWHC 534 (QB): Article 8 defences;
  • JL, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Defence [2013] EWCA Civ 449;
  • Cook v The Mortgage Business Plc [2012] EWCA Civ 17: North East Property Buyers litigation – sale and leaseback;
  • Makisi v Birmingham City Council and two other linked appeals [2011] EWCA Civ 355: Homelessness – right to make oral representations;
  • Salford City Council v Garner [2004] HLR 35; The Times 10 March 2004: Handing over keys may create a tenancy; Introductory Tenancies;
  • North British Housing Association v Matthews and others [2004] EWCA Civ 1736 and [2005] H.L.R. 17: Power to adjourn mandatory possession proceedings;
  • Hayes v Transco plc [2003] EWCA Civ 261;
  • Manchester City Council v Finn [2003] HLR41; [2002] EWCA Civ 1998: Suspended possession orders;
  • Bond v Leicester City Council [2002] EWCA HLR 6: Homelessness and domestic violence; and
  • Sheffield City Council v Hopkins [2002] EWCA HLR 12: Tolerated trespassers.
High Court
  • Sharing, R (on the application of) v Preston County Court [2012] EWHC 515 (Admin) (22 February 2012): Administrative Court quashes refusal of County Court judge to grant permission to appeal;
  • North East Property Buyers Litigation [2010] EWHC 2991 (Ch);
  • Rogerson v Wigan MBC [2005] H.L.R. 10, p129; [2004] EWHC 1677 (QB): Definition of hostel;
  • Yates v Elaby ChD 17/11/03 Reported Lawtel 1/11/06: Agent held liable as landlord for unlawful eviction and disrepair; and
  • R v Secretary of State Home Dept ex parte Nazir Musa EWHC (QB) 11/5/2000: Extending time limits in judicial review.
EAT
  • Harries and Simpson v Alan Paine Knitwear and others UKEAT/0014/04/SM 28/5/04.
County Court
  • Helena Housing Ltd v Mower & Molyneux (28/11/07) (HHJ Mackay at Liverpool County Court): Entrenched tolerated trespassers.
Industrial Tribunal
  • Smith v Humberside Magistrates Court [2003] IDS Brief.

Publications

Contributor on Housing Law Issues to Legal Action, Roof, Independent Lawyer and other legal publications. Articles include:

  • Are squatting reform proposals causing confusion? – Lexis Nexis Current Awareness October 2011;
  • “Lawful consequences” (article covering the House of Lords ruling that it is not unlawful to classify people as ‘homeless at home’) – Roof Magazine September 2009;
  • “Entrenched tolerated trespassers: where now after Porter?” – Legal ActionMay 2008;
  • “Entrenched tolerated trespassers – a way to dig them out?” – Legal Action March 2008; and
  • “New law for the EU Homeless” – Independent Lawyer May 2007.

Memberships

  • Legal Action Group;
  • North West Housing Law Practitioners (co-ordinator); and
  • Administrative Law Bar Association.

Privacy Notice

James’ Privacy Notice may be viewed by clicking here.

Recommendations

He is known for his brilliant intellect. He is also thorough and approachable. "An exceptionally good advocate." Recent work: Acted in Jones v Canal & River Trust, a Court of Appeal case concerning the removal of a person living on a canal boat for alleged breach of licence conditions.Chambers and Partners 2019
A junior with drive and complete commitment to his cases.The UK Legal 500 2019
Regularly advocates before the Court of Appeal and enjoys a formidable reputation in the sector. In addition to his in-depth knowledge of public and private landlord and tenant law, he has broad experience in trespasser and Traveller cases, and frequently takes instructions from the Official Solicitor to represent those with diminished capacity and mental health issues. His housing cases often overlap with community care. Strengths: "Has an encyclopedic knowledge of housing law and has a real eye for detail." "The cleverest person I know. He is very quick and prepares properly." Recent work: Acted in a Section 204 appeal in which the judge ruled that erroneous legal advice is relevant when deciding whether to grant an extension of time for an appeal.Chambers and Partners 2018
A resourceful thinker, who finds creative solutions to problems.The UK Legal 500 2017
Regularly advocates before the Court of Appeal and enjoys a formidable reputation in the sector. In addition to his in-depth knowledge of public and private landlord and tenant law, he has broad experience in trespasser and Traveller cases, and frequently takes instructions from the Official Solicitor to represent those with diminished capacity and mental health issues. Strengths: "Not afraid to go for the difficult argument. He is a very bright lawyer, academically impressive and able to bring an informed chancery slant to his landlord and tenant work." "He is one of the most authoritative, experienced advocates on the circuit."  Chambers and Partners 2017
Has a broad social housing practice, with experience in both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He is particularly noted for defending possession proceedings on behalf of tenants with mental health issues or learning difficulties.  Strengths:  "He is known to be a leading expert on all aspects of housing law and is determined to get the best outcome." "He has a really good reputation, and is clearly very knowledgeable. "He is phenomenally clever and incredibly sharp."  Recent work:  Junior counsel in a Supreme Court appeal regarding overriding interests of occupiers against mortgagees in sale and leaseback arrangements. Chambers and Partners 2016
Highly reputed junior for social housing matters. His expertise includes a full range of matters including complex possession proceedings, homelessness appeals and disputes involving multiple parties and agencies. Expertise:  "He is pretty much excellent at everything. He's so intelligent." Chambers and Partners 2015
Leading Junior in Administrative and Public Law (The Regions): "...James Stark, who focuses the public law element of his practice on issues stemming from housing law. Solicitors comment that he is particularly adept at the more complicated cases, observing that "he seems to have that ability to address the court on quite complex, Article 8 human rights-related issues". Chambers and Partners 2013
Leading Junior in Social Housing (Northern): James Stark of Garden Court North is lauded as someone who "knows everything there is to know about housing law." He is praised for his determination, and is known for being "thoroughly committed, particularly in difficult, hard to win cases". Chambers and Partners 2013
Leading Junior in Social Housing (Northern): James Stark of Garden Court North is ...praised as a leading tenant barrister, and is lauded for always having his eye firmly fixed on the salient points in a case. In one recent highlight, he acted in the Supreme Court in Manchester City Council v Pinnock, a case concerning the bearing of Article 8 of the ECHR on possession orders. Chambers and Partners 2012
Leading Junior Administrative and Public Law (The Regions): James Stark is commended for his "encyclopaedic knowledge of housing case law." A recent highlight saw him acting before the Supreme Court in the case of Manchester City Council v Pinnock. Sources credit him as being "on the ball" and "accomplished at understanding the urgency of a case."Chambers and Partners 2012
Leading Junior in Social Housing (Northern): James Stark of Garden Court North attracts widespread praise for his expertise in housing law. He was recently involved in the high-profile Supreme Court case of Manchester City Council v Pinnock, a matter that looked at the issue of proportionality when granting possession of a demoted tenancy. Peers admire his "inventive style" and say he is "a straightforward opponent who fights his corner with vigour".Chambers and Partners 2011
Leading Junior in Administrative and Public Law (Northern): ...James Stark [has] substantial experience in public law challenges against public bodies in the North and never fail to impress with [his] thoroughness and depth of housing law knowledge. Chambers and Partners 2011
...Is one of the leading lights for social housing work in the region and "has the Northern market largely sewn up," according to peers. Chambers and Partners 2010
...Considered "an expert when it comes to tolerated trespassers work," Stark is also respected for his "encyclopaedic knowledge of housing allocation and possession proceedings." Chambers and Partners 2009
James Stark impressed sources with his "depth of knowledge in this area." A former solicitor, his past twelve months have consisted of a diet of possession hearings and unlawful eviction cases, as well as a substantial number of homelessness appeals. Chambers and Partners 2008
Outside London, there are very few concentrations of social housing talent but Garden Court North can claim to represent one of them... Amongst its numbers it can count James Stark, whose practice mirrors that of the group as a whole... described as being "extremely hard working and very committed." Chambers and Partners 2007

 

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