Question Kes Law

The significance in Human Rights law and UK law of Kay and others v UK [2010] ECHR 1322

Is the case of Kay and others v UK [2010] ECHR 1322 significant for residential tenants in England?

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The case of Kay v UK involved applicants who occupied short term leases of housing units owned by the local authority. The local authority terminated the leases, and following, the applicants claimed these proceedings breached their Article 8 Rights regarding the right to a family life due to a breach of the right to respect for private and home life. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found a violation of this right, despite an unsuccessful claim in the domestic courts due to the precedent from the House of Lords authority Kay v Lambeth LBC [2006].

The reasoning behind this decision is not entirely clear. The UK courts established that the termination of the leases was a proportionate response, but the ECtHR emphasised the fact that as the loss of one’s home is the most extreme interference of Article 8, the individual(s) at risk should have the proportionality of the decision in question assessed by an independent tribunal, notwithstanding the ruling of the domestic law.

The first reason why this has not changed the law in a meaningful way is that there is a lack of clarification in this decision. Does the court itself decide whether the eviction is proportionate, or would this be more akin to a judicial review process?

The most significant reason for the meaningless of this decision is the doctrine of precedent. The decision of the ECtHR does not alter the position in domestic law, and the House of Lords’ authority Kay v Lambeth LBC will allow the domestic courts to continue to breach the Article 8 rights.


Kay v Lambeth LBC [2006] 2 AC 465
Kay v UK [2010] ECHR 1322