Zia Nabi


Year of Call

Zia Nabi

Zia specialises in civil and public law. He is vastly experienced and has acted in cases at all levels including the House of Lords, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.


His practice consists of a mixture of public and private law. He is ranked both by Chambers UK Bar guide (Band 1) and the Legal 500 whose editorials state: 

“Consistently praised by other lawyers for his sharp legal mind, he is known for his creativity and use of novel arguments. "He really understands the interplay between housing law and the traditional principles of land law." Chambers 2014

“Calm and unflappable in emergencies, a great communicator and a formidable opponent.” Legal 500


He has particular expertise in public and administrative law in challenging public authority decisions on housing and community care provision to adults and children. He is an expert on the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010, and has been involved in several cutting edge cases concerning their interpretation.  One of his cases, Ali v Birmingham City Council [2010] 2 A.C. 39 (whether article 6 ECHR applies to statutory homelessness reviews) is currently being considered by the ECtHR. Another, Kanu v LB Southwark [2014] EWCA Civ 1085, is currently awaiting judgment from the Supreme Court on the relationship between the public sector equality duty and the statutory test for vulnerability in homeless cases.


As part of his wide ranging public law practice, he has also advised and acted in procurement judicial reviews brought by solicitors firms challenging the tendering of legal aid contracts, in a case alleging breach of legitimate expectation arising from monies provided under the New Deal for Communities programme, and in cases challenging the decisions to change existing care provision to residents in care homes. 


He has also acted in cases involving trusts of land, mortgages and consumer credit agreements. He appeared in the leading House of Lords case on landlords’ duties in nuisance to their tenants.


He is from time to time instructed by the official solicitor acting for persons lacking mental capacity, most recently in a case where a constructive trust was successfully asserted in defence to a claim for possession. 

What the Guides say

He has  been ranked for several years in the  Chambers UK Bar  guide as  a  leading individual   (Band  1).  Editorials have stated


'A  "highly experienced and knowledgeable" advocate who is "very good at picking up points." He is particularly noted for his work on  homelessness cases."'.


“He  is committed to helping his  clients and getting the best result for  them, and often uses innovative arguments that progress the law  forward in order to achieve his  aims”


“outright determination to do his  best for  his  client”


“winning praise from some of the most significant figures in the sector” “successful track record in a large number of notable cases”.


Zia gives regular legal training. He has spoken at the Housing Law Practitioners Association’s bimonthly meetings and at their annual conference, and at LAG’s Community Care conference. He has co-written and delivered a one-day LAG seminar on Homeless Children.  He has given seminars for Shelter. He has had articles published in the Solicitors Journal and the Journal of Housing Law.


  • Gatekeeping: lessons from the Birmingham cases J.H.L. 2012, 15(6), 109-113
  • Out in the cold Solicitors Journal, 2010, 154(43)

Housing and Social Welfare

Notable Cases

Supreme Court/House of Lords

  • LB Southwark v Kanu – Judgment awaited
  • Ali v Birmingham City Council [2010] UKSC 8; [2010] 2 A.C. 39
  • R. (on the application of Aweys) v Birmingham City Council [2009] UKHL 36; [2009] 1 W.L.R. 1506
  • Southwark LBC v Mills [2001] 1 A.C. 1

Court of Appeal

  • Birmingham City Council v Stephenson [2016] EWCA Civ 1029; [2016] H.L.R. 44
  • Birmingham City Council v Balog [2013] EWCA Civ 1582; [2014] H.L.R. 14
  • Ali v Birmingham City Council [2009] EWCA Civ 1279; [2011] H.L.R. 17
  • Omar v Birmingham City Council [2007] EWCA Civ 610; [2007] H.L.R. 43
  • Richmond v Kensington and Chelsea RLBC [2006] EWCA Civ 68; [2006] 1 W.L.R. 1693
  • Cramp v Hastings BC [2005] EWCA Civ 1005; [2005] 4 All E.R. 1014
  • North British Housing Association Ltd v Matthews [2004] EWCA Civ 1736; [2005] 1 W.L.R. 3133
  • R. (on the application of Wahid) v Tower Hamlets LBC [2002] EWCA Civ 287; [2003] H.L.R. 2
  • Wandsworth LBC v Michalak [2002] EWCA Civ 271; [2003] 1 W.L.R. 617
  • Alghile v Westminster City Council [2001] EWCA Civ 363; (2001) 33 H.L.R. 57
  • Kingston upon Thames RLBC v Prince [1999] 1 F.L.R. 593; (1999) 31 H.L.R. 794
  • Re E (Minors) (Residence: Imposition of Conditions) [1997] 2 F.L.R. 638

High Court

  • R. (on the application of J) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWHC 3073
  • R (Jenkins) v Marsh Farm Community Development Trust [2011] EWHC 1097
  • R. (on the application Khazai) v Birmingham City Council [2010] EWHC 2576
  • R. (on the application of MA) v Croydon LBC [2009] EWHC 2474 (Admin); [2010] 1 W.L.R. 1658;
  • R (Mehari & Kelly) v Birmingham City Council [2009] EWHC 3240 (Admin)
  • R. (on the application of P) v Camden LBC [2004] EWHC 55
  • R. (on the application of Gangera) v Hounslow LBC [2003] EWHC 794 (Admin); [2003] H.L.R. 68

Community Care

  • R. (on the  application of Wahid) v Tower Hamlets LBC [2002] EWCA Civ 287;  [2003] H.L.R. 2
  • R. (on the  application of P) v Camden LBC [2004] EWHC 55

Administrative & Public Law

Human Rights

Land and Property

Equality & Discrimination

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