Irwin Mitchell to appeal High Court ruling on Olympic Village evictions

Irwin Mitchell is expected to appeal against a High Court ruling that allows the London Development Agency (LDA) to evict residents of the Clays Lane Estate in Stratford, East London, to enable the Olympic Village to be built.

The firm, known more as a personal injury powerhouse, challenged the terms of the compulsory purchase order (CPO) made by the LDA, claiming that it was a breach of the residents’ human rights.

Under the CPO the Clays Lane residents were assured that they would be rehoused in equivalent or better housing.

Irwin Mitchell argued that this promise had been broken and appealed the CPO’s terms.

The residents’ opposition to the CPO was initially defeated at an inquiry into their relocation and was confirmed by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone said on 16 November 2005 that he was “committed to Clays Lane residents being given a range of rehousing options that is expected to lead to an improvement in their current accommodation”.

Irwin Mitchell argued that these options had failed to materialise.

Human rights partner Andrew Lockley said: “Many of the residents are extremely worried about how to find equivalent housing elsewhere in London. Despite public assurances from the Mayor of London, the LDA and others, nothing equivalent has been offered.”

Lockley, head of public law at Irwin Mitchell, instructed Nathalie Lieven QC of Landmark Chambers as lead counsel. Guy Roots QC of 12 College Place acted for the LDA.

An LDA spokesman said: “For over 18 months the LDA has been working with residents and registered social landlords to provide re-housing options for Clays Lane residents.

“In August 2006, LB Newham gave residents priority status for re-housing and this was followed by LB Hackney, LB Tower Hamlets and LB Waltham Forest… The last of these offers will be kept open until such time as the resident leaves Clays Lane. These offers are subject to independent review if deemed unsuitable.

“It’s because of this kind of action that we continue to win legal challenges and is part of the reason why the Judge refused leave to appeal and awarded costs against Mr Sole in the recent hearing. There are currently less than 60 residents out of the original 425 who have still to identify alternative housing”

The Department of Trade and Industry was represented by Richard Drabble QC of Landmark Chambers.