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Dominic Preston is a public law lawyer specialising in housing, community care and Court of Protection work.

His housing practice is centred on homelessness, allocations and disputes concerning residential premises, whether rented or leasehold and it necessarily strays into immigration law, community care and child care law, EU law, discrimination law, and human rights law.  His Court of Protection work specialises in the cross-over between mental capacity and housing, with a particular expertise in hoarder cases and the related deprivation of liberty issues that arise.  His community care work centres on obtaining accommodation and assistance under the Care Act 2014.  He appears regularly in the lower courts, the High Court and the appellate courts.

Dominic is recognised as a leading junior in social housing by  Chambers and Partners which recommends him as “a highly impressive advocate with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law", "very intelligent and creative and he really fights the client's corner." (2021), "a fearless fighter, not afraid of tackling a contentious case." (2015), " always accessible, appropriate and effective" (2014), "thorough, thoughtful and reliable," a "really good opponent to have" (2013), known “for his technical ability and excellent judgment, as well as his straightforward and easy manner” (2012) and “… his sharp mind and impressive workload were both highlighted by peers ...” (2011). 

Legal 500 recommend Dominic in both social housing and court of protection work reporting that: “Dominic is a fearless and determined advocate who works tirelessly on behalf of clients and often achieves spectacular results. His fierce intellect enables him to come up with novel arguments and creative solutions to get the very best for clients.“ (2021).

He has previously been on the executive of the Housing Law Practitioner’s Association and team leader of Doughty Street’s Housing and Social Welfare Team.


As well as regularly speaking on housing, community care and mental health law topics, Dominic has a strong commitment to writing on housing issues.  He has previously co-written the Housing title of Atkins Court Forms and previously wrote the Harassment and Anti-Social Behaviour title in the same volume.  Between 2005 and 2007 he co-wrote the quarterly Housing Law Update for the Solicitors Journal and he has written for a number of other legal journals. Dominic has also appeared on Radio 4’s Money Box Live.

Housing and Social Welfare

Dominic’s housing practice covers homelessness, allocations, right to buy, anti-social behaviour, disrepair, unlawful eviction and possession matters.  In that context he necessarily strays into immigration, discrimination, human rights, public law, and community and child care law.  As well as his involvement in the Housing Law Practitioner Association, he also writes and lectures on those topics.  Significant cases include:

  • Alibkhiet v Brent LBC [2019] HLR 15 CA.  A challenge to Brent’s practice of housing homeless applicant’s in borough’s other than its own often at some distance to Brent.

  • Ajilore v Hackney LBC [2014] HLR 46 CA.  A challenge to the priority need test being erroneously applied by local authorities and to the use of statistics in such cases (transcript).

  • Farah v Hillingdon LBC [2014] HLR 24 CA.  Homelessness; intentionality; finding by local authority that accommodation was affordable quashed for failure to give adequate reasons in the face of the explanations given by the applicant (transcript)

  • Hanoman v Southwark LBC (No. 2) [2009] UKHL 29; [2009] 1 WLR 1367.  Tenant in receipt of housing benefit exercising right to buy; tenant serving operative notice of delay on council and claiming price reduction; Whether housing benefit ‘payment of rent’ for purpose of reducing price as a consequence of landlord’s delay (transcript).  In the court of appeal ([2008] EWCA Civ 624 CA; [2009] 1 WLR 374; [2009]) the case also considered the jurisdiction of court to intervene and the creation of collateral contracts (transcript).

  • Ahmed v Leicester CC [2008] HLR 6 CA.  Homelessness; discharge of duty; whether it was reasonable to accept accommodation that was refused (HA 1996, s. 193(7F)); test to be applied when assessing reasonableness of applicant’s decision to refuse (transcript).

  • Desnousse v Newham LBC & others [2006] QB 831; [2006] HLR 38 CA.  Eviction of homeless applicants from temporary accommodation provided by private landlord; application of Protection from Eviction Act, s. 3(2B) and meaning of ‘occupied as a dwelling’; whether court proceedings were required to evict such applicants; whether evictions in absence of proceedings breach of Articles 6 or 8 of European Convention on Human Rights (transcript).

  • O’Connor v Kensington & Chelsea RLBC [2004] HLR 37 CA.  Intentionality; good faith defence; definition of ignorance of a relevant fact; obligations of reviewing officer to consider good faith defence (transcript).

  • Southwark v Sarfo [1999] 32 HLR 602 CA. Eviction; set aside of warrant on ground of oppression; discretion whether to set aside warrant.

Administrative and Public Law

In the Housing or Community Care context, Dominic is available for emergency judicial review applications for interim relief, whether to the duty judge or for drafting papers for urgent consideration. Dominic’s emergency work includes cases brought under section 188(1) and (3) of the Housing Act 1996, Sections 17 and 20 of the Children Act 1989 and Section 21 of the National Assistance Act 1948.  Dominic’s practice also includes allocation cases under Part VI of the Housing Act 1996 and an expansion of public law work in the county court as a consequence of an increase in Winder/Pinnock defences.

Equality and Discrimination

Housing law has and is being profoundly influenced by developments in discrimination law, particularly disability discrimination in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and through the prism of the Public Sector Equality Duty (section 149 of the EA 2010).  The interplay with Articles 8 and 14 of the ECHR and the concept of proportionality have also come to the fore. 


Dominic’s recent cases in this field include:

  • A challenge to the 2006 Eligibility Regulations on the ground that they discriminate in breach of Article 14 against those from abroad who given leave to remain in the UK by reason of Article 8 factors.  Many of those applicants are given permission to have access to public funds despite which they are excluded from applying for housing assistance. The case is ongoing.

  • An alcoholic with underlying depression who, although subject to a possession order caused by anti-social behaviour, had the order stayed until such time as suitable alternative accommodation was available.  The authority, being unable to find such alternative accommodation, conceded that he was entitled to remain notwithstanding the possession order.

  • A schizophrenic who conceded that he could no longer live in sheltered accommodation because of the harassment he had caused his neighbours, but in respect of whom the court required a managed transfer to alternative accommodation, failing which no eviction would be allowed.  The client was rehoused in self-contained accommodation with a support package and a care plan in place.

  • A tenant with difficult social problems but who was the sole carer of her disabled father.  Her anti-social behaviour was limited and in the context of the father’s dependence on his daughter, the local authority conceded that possession was disproportionate in the circumstances.

Mental Health and Court of Protection

Dominic principally acts on behalf of the Official Solicitor and local authorities in cases involving capacity, residence, deprivation of liberty and Article 5 issues.  His main area of interest is the overlap between the Court of Protection jurisdiction and housing law, arising most often in the context of hoarder cases.  His expertise in Mental Capacity is particularly useful in his wider practice where he acts for (or is involved in cases with) vulnerable clients.

Land and Property

Dominic is well versed in residential property law and his practice in the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal includes service charge disputes and leasehold enfranchisement. He also deals with undue influence cases and disputes between former cohabitees under the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.  Recent cases include representing multiple Claimants on a large estate built by a housing association in which extensive damages and injunctions were claimed as a consequence of a considerable number of causes of action arising out of inherent defects and disrepair. Dominic also regularly lectures on these topics.


Dominic is an experienced housing, public law and Court of Protection practitioner who trained as a mediator in 2012 with the London School of Mediation.  As a member of the Doughty Street Mediation Team he accepts instructions to mediate for (and to represent) any participants involved in a mediation.

He has recently taken part in a number of successful settlement conferences held on remote platforms (Zoom and Teams) and is comfortable with overcoming the challenges that such platforms can present for clients and participants. Dominic is well known for his ability to look at problems objectively and creatively.  His expertise in housing, landlord and tenant, Court of Protection and public law are a particular advantage when seeking to mediate difficult issues in those spheres.

He is currently ranked band 1 for social housing by Chambers & Partners who recommend him for his ‘technical ability and excellent judgment, as well as his straightforward and easy manner’ (2012) and for being ‘engaging, adaptable, appropriate and effective’ (2014).

Although based in London, Dominic is happy to undertake work throughout the UK.