Our case has been heard. And now…
The Queen (on the application of Regas) v LB Enfield
Yesterday we had an all-day hearing in the High Court, with arguments about whether Enfield Council acted lawfully in bringing in additional and selective licensing. We decided to go with our strongest points, rather than use broader but weaker grounds. In particular, our barristers put points to His Honour Judge McKenna about whether the people of Enfield and the 6 surrounding boroughs were consulted properly (if at all) about the council’s plans and how the council responded to objections raised during the consultations.
I am very grateful to the many landlords who came to support the case. The general consensus is that our new barristers, Jonathan Manning and Justin Bates, did an excellent job. They were very well prepared and our points were put across strongly. (I slept through the night for the first time in months, which is a sign of how I felt yesterday went!)
And now, we wait. The judgment will be before the end of the legal term (19th December) but the judge understood that the decision is relatively urgent and will try to give the case further consideration and deliver his judgment very soon. It is not at all clear what the outcome will be, so there is still a fair amount of risk on our part.
HHJ McKenna can reject our grounds or find in our favour. He can even find partly in our favour or partly against. Then, if we are successful, there is the question of “remedies”, which is what action the court will take. The court could quash (cancel) the schemes or make the council do nor not do something (an injunction). The court can also just make a declaration that the schemes are unlawful but allow them to go ahead anyway. If the scheme went ahead went ahead with a declaration that it was unlawful, the council would probably not be able to fine or prosecute anyone for a breach.
A further consideration will be the terms of a cost order. Having now gone to trial, if costs are awarded against me, they will obviously be higher than if I had pulled out of the case a week ago. I thank everyone who has contributed so far and would ask that those who have erred previously now put their hands in their pockets (the link is below). If we get costs back I will be more than happy to refund the contributions!
Finally, I would like to also thank our local MPs, David Burrowes (Enfield Southgate) and Nick de Bois (Enfield North), for their help at a political level, as well as their support and encouragement on a personal level.