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You are a barrister who takes case by ‘direct access’ (this means that clients approach you directly for advice rather than you being instructed through a solicitor)

COURSEWORK 2 INSTRUCTIONS

WORKING IN THE LAW 2020/2021 LLB YEAR 2 FULL TIME AND PART TIME

CW2: ADVOCACY ASSESSMENT 2020-21

WRITTEN AND ORAL ADVICE ON JUDICIAL REVIEW (FAO COURSEWORK POINT, ONLY FOCUS ON THE WRITTEN ASPECT)

INSTRUCTIONS

FACTUAL SCENARIO FOR WRITTEN ADVICE AND ORAL ASSESSMENT

You are a barrister who takes case by ‘direct access’ (this means that clients approach you directly for advice rather than you being instructed through a solicitor). 

As a result of a series of fires in residential tower blocks, serious concerns have been raised about fire safety for tenants living in tower blocks. In order that Social Landlords, including Registered Housing Associations, can improve their housing stock in relation to fire safety, the Government through Parliament enacts the (‘fictitious’) Fire Safety in Social Housing Grants Act (‘the Act’). 

The Act provides that any Social Landlord including Housing Associations granted funding under the Act must use the grant for fire safety improvement works for the benefit of tenants living in tower blocks. 

Your client is Foxhill Tenants’ Association (FTA), a charity which advises and represents tenants of Foxhill tower block. FTA is registered with the Charity Commission and is also registered as a company limited by guarantee. The landlord of the tower block is Motown Housing Association (MHA), a registered housing association which took over the management and ownership of the block from the local authority a number of years ago. 

MHA had applied and been granted a funding under the Act to improve fire safety in their tower blocks. Just over one month ago, following concerns around the fire safety of the external cladding installed about 18 months ago, the tenants were told that a decision had been made by the Housing Association to refurbish the block including the replacement of the front doors to individual flats with fire doors, the removal of the external cladding and installation of improved smoke alarms and sprinklers. The decision stated that improved smoke alarms and sprinklers will be installed in all common parts but smoke alarms and sprinklers will only be installed in flats for tenants who are not in arrears with their rent and no tenant who has rent arrears will have their front door replaced with a fire door. No meaningful consultation regarding the refurbishment was carried out with the tenants contrary to the Housing Association’s usual practice in relation to major works.  

FTA is considering taking an action for Judicial Review because they do not agree that the sprinkler system chosen is the best option and they do not think the decision as it relates to tenants in rent arrears is fair. FTA want your advice. 

Because of the pandemic you are not able to advise them face to face and the chair of FTA has asked for you to provide her with a video of your advice so that she can present this to their committee. FTA has told you that: 

 The block was purchased by Motown Housing Association with the assistance of a public subsidy  All of the properties are let as social housing 

______________________________________________________________

Please note all information in this scenario including the document is fictitious. You will not need to know any housing, health and safety law or any area of law other than public law to complete this assignment.   

1. Written advice and contents instructions

Read the scenario above and prepare a Written Advice to Foxhill Tenants’ Association covering all THREE aspects set out below: 

1. whether the decision is amenable to Judicial Review;

2. Foxhill Tenants’ Association’s standing in relation to an action for Judicial Review; AND

3. the grounds Foxhill Tenants’ Association may have for Judicial Review.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE WRITTEN ADVICE – other than that set out below there is no prescribed format for the Written Advice: 

  • The Written Advice is not a formal barrister’s opinion and does not have to be written in a prescribed format.
  • You must refer to relevant legal principles and case law with correct OSCOLA referencing (see below).
  • Advise in the second person i.e. “you may have grounds to challenge this decision”.
  • Your coursework must be formatted in Arial font size 12 (minimum) and double line spaced.
  • The word limit for the Written Advice is 750 words minimum and 1000 words maximum.
  • The word count must exclude footnotes PROVIDED ALL footnotes contain references ONLY.  If ANY footnote contains any material other than references, ALL footnotes MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE WORD COUNT. References must be OSCOLA compliant. 

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Criteria Apportionment

  • Did the advocate use good grammatical English?  Was there clarity of expression? 15%
  • Development of the main argument and intervention  Was there a clear introduction and effective summarising?  Were all relevant issues considered and no irrelevant arguments or issues considered?  Was there a clear progression of ideas which was easy to follow?

40%

  • Did the advocate write clear and appropriate advice which followed logically from the legal principles?

10%

  • Did the Written Advice contain a concise and accurate summary of the basis of the legal advice and accurately reflect the current legal position covering the applicable public law principles?

25%

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