Ben Chataway

b.chataway@doughtystreet.co.uk

Year of Call

1995
Ben Chataway
Profile

Ben specialises in housing and social welfare, community care and public law. He provides expert advice and representation across a wide range of public and property law issues. Having worked for many years as a solicitor he has a thorough understanding of the pressures of a solicitor's practice, of funding issues and costs. He combines specialist expertise with a pragmatic and client-focused approach.  He is recommended in Chambers and Partners as “very thoughtful and effective - he doesn't waste any time on his feet and he thinks things through in a composed and calm manner.”

 

Ben undertook pupillage at a leading company law set before he re-qualified and spent 13 years as a solicitor carrying out a range of legally aided work. He returned to the bar in 2010. Since 2009 he has also sat as a Tribunal Judge hearing a wide range of social security benefit appeals.

Housing and Social Welfare

Ben has extensive experience as a housing lawyer. His areas of expertise include homelessness disputes, eligibility, allocations, other judicial reviews, possession proceedings (from rent arrears to public law defences), antisocial behaviour, succession, leasehold disputes, claims for housing disrepair and unlawful eviction.

Recently cases include R (Alabi) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government CO/1231/2016, a claim based on Article 14 discrimination in response to which the Secretary of State has agreed to amend the regulations governing eligibility for homeless housing assistance.  Other examples of recent work include R (Jakimaviciute) v LBHF [2014] EWCA Civ 1438 (concerning local authorities’ powers to set qualification criteria for housing allocation); R (MA & ors) v SSWP [2013] PTSR 1521 (legality of the “bedroom tax”); and Superstrike Ltd v Rodrigues [2013] 1 WLR 3848 (application of the tenancy deposit provisions to private tenants who moved in before April 2007).

He has developed special expertise in acting for asylum seekers and other persons from abroad seeking welfare support, whether from the Home Office or local authorities. He can assist across a range of issues relating to migrant welfare, including dispersal, support for overstayers, unaccompanied minors, age disputes, and community care issues.  Recent cases include R (Cushnie) v SSH [2014] EWHC 3626 (Admin) (discrimination in access to healthcare for disabled former asylum seekers); and R (Chen) v SSHD [2012] H.R.L.R. 33 (regarding the compatibility of the asylum support scheme with articles 8 and 14 ECHR).

Ben sits as a First-tier Tribunal Judge on a range of welfare benefit appeals. As counsel he has been involved in a number of significant benefit cases. Recently he acted for Christian Jump, who through his mother and litigation friend Dorothy challenged the Government’s decision to abolish the national grant funding for Local Welfare Provision (formerly, the Social Fund). As a direct result of the challenge the Government withdrew its decision and agreed to re-consult. Other cases include R (MA & ors) v SSWP (the bedroom tax) and R (Sumpter) v SSWP [2015] EWCA Civ 1033 (judicial review of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payments) Regulations 2013).

Community Care and Health

Ben acts frequently for vulnerable children and their families, and for vulnerable adults in need of community care services. He can provide specialist advice and representation with regards to the rights of "looked after" children, homeless children and their families, inter-authority disputes, and rights under the leaving care provisions. Examples of recent cases include R (Cushnie) v SSH [2014] EWHC 3626 (Admin) (discrimination in access to healthcare for disabled former asylum seekers); R (Uddin) v Newham LBC CO/2137/2013 (successful claim for damages in respect of a local authority’s failure to secure education for a looked after child); R (Rama) v Barking and Dagenham LBC CO/4256/2015 (challenge to a refusal of assistance under Care Act 2014 and/or s17 Children Act 1989.

Administrative and Public Law

Public and administrative law is central to Ben's practice. While his public law work is focused mainly on the social welfare and community care fields, he can assist across the range of public law issues. Example cases include R (Alabi) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government CO/1231/2016, a claim based on Article 14 discrimination in response to which the Secretary of State has agreed to amend the regulations governing eligibility for homeless housing assistance; R (Cushnie) v SSH [2014] EWHC 3626 (Admin) (a challenge to the charging regulations for healthcare based on discrimination or breach of Article 8 ECHR); R (Jakimaviciute) v LBHF [2014] EWCA Civ 1438 (proper construction of Part 6 Housing Act 1996);  R (Sumpter) v SSWP  [2015] EWCA Civ 1033  (whether the regulations providing for Personal Independence Payment are flawed for inadequate consultation and/or breach of s.149 Equality Act 2010); R (Chen) v SSHD [2012] H.R.L.R. 33 (compatibility of the asylum support scheme with article 14 ECHR); R (Law Society) v Legal Services Commission [2010] EWHC 2550 (Admin) (instructed by interveners in a challenge to a legal aid tender); and R (Public Interest Lawyers Ltd) v LSC [2010] EWHC 3259 (Admin) (challenge based on public procurement law and application for a protective costs order).

Ben has a particular interest in legal aid/funding issues.  He has extensive experience of advising and representing providers in dispute with the LAA, whether before the contracts review board or the Court.  He has acted successfully in a number of claims for judicial review concerning costs assessments  and  other  matters.

Land and Property

In addition to his housing work, Ben has expertise in dealing with wider issues of property law. Examples of recent cases include acting successfully for the Official Solicitor in opposing an application for sale by a trustee in bankruptcy; defending a claim for possession of a Georgian mansion based on constructive trust/proprietary estoppels; defending possession from a mortgagee based on forged signature on a mortgage deed; and proceedings before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal regarding a claim for a rent repayment order.

Equality and Discrimination

Ben has a keen interest in discrimination and equality law issues and frequently deploys arguments based on domestic and international discrimination law to assist vulnerable clients. Examples of recent and current cases involving discrimination include R (Alabi) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government CO/1231/2016, a claim based on Article 14 discrimination in response to which the Secretary of State has agreed to amend the regulations governing eligibility for homeless housing assistance; R (Cushnie) v SSH [2014] EWHC 3626 (Admin)(concerning the charging regulations for healthcare, in which Ben is being lead by Karon Monaghan QC); R (MA & ors) v SSWP [2013] PTSR 1521 (judicial review of the bedroom tax based on disability discrimination); R (Sumpter) v SSWP [2014] EWHC 2434 (Admin) (judicial review of disability living allowance reform on the basis of breach of the public sector equality duty); R (Chen) v SSHD [2012] H.R.L.R. 33 (challenge to the asylum support scheme based on article 14 ECHR); Bialkowski v SSWP (challenge to the housing benefit rules for shared carers, based on sex discrimination); and Chummun v Enfield LBC (county court claim for damages under Equality Act 2010 in respect of disability discrimination in the handling of a homelessness application).

Corporate governance and policy

Ben has extensive knowledge of the powers and duties of local authorities in relation to housing, child welfare and community care legislation. He also has experience of disputes regarding public procurement. While he has acted predominantly for claimants he is happy to provide advice for local authorities.

Mediation

Ben trained as a mediator with the London School of Mediation. As a member of the Doughty Street Mediation team he accepts instructions to act as a lead or other mediator and to represent parties in mediations.

Ben has experience of resolving disputes across a wide range of practice areas.  He is recognised particularly for his expertise in housing/landlord and tenant work (including neighbour disputes and disrepair/personal injury claims), community care and public law.  He is numerate, and has further experience of general chancery/commercial and company law disputes.

He has worked in a range of different contexts. Previously he was a solicitor and partner in private practice. He is comfortable with dealing with clients from diverse backgrounds. He also works

part-time as a tribunal judge, sitting alone and with a panel of other experts. He is pragmatic and understanding. His lack of pomp or arrogance has been described by Legal 500 as “a breath of fresh air”.

Although based in London Ben is happy to undertake work throughout the UK Please click here to view full mediation profile.

Education

BA (Hons) Cantab

BVC Outstanding (Inns of Court)

 

Memberships

Executive Member- Housing Law Practitioner Association

Housing and Immigration Group

Fee-Paid Tribunal Judge in the First- Tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber)

Publications

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