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Supreme Court rules on meaning of "domestic violence" in the Housing Act 1996

DATE: 26 Jan 2011

The Supreme Court (Lord Hope, Lord Rodger, Lord Walker, Lady Hale and Lord Brown) today gave judgment in Yemshaw v London Borough of Hounslow [2011] UKSC 3 on appeal from [2009] EWCA Civ 1543.

The issue in this case was what is meant by the words "domestic violence" in section 177(1) of the Housing Act 1996. Is it limited to physical contact or does it include other forms of conduct? The Court of Appeal had decided it was limited to physical contact.

The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal. Lady Hale gave the leading judgment. The Court held that "domestic violence" in s. 177(1) of the 1996 Act includes physical violence, threatening or intimidating behaviour and any other form of abuse which, directly or indirectly, may give rise to the risk of harm.

The transcript can be found here.

Nathalie Lieven QC appeared for the Appellant instructed by Scully and Sowerbutts
Richard Drabble QC appeared for the Respondent instructed by Instructed by the London Borough of Hounslow Legal Services
James Maurici appeared for the First Intervener, the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government (who supported the Appellant) instructed by the Treasury Solicitor's Department