Camden LBC v M [July 2005] Central London Civil Justice Centre

Camden issued possession proceedings against a secure tenant in July 2004 based on arrears of £540.78 which related entirely to non-payment of water and gas charges.  The defendant (M) refused to pay because he had found cheaper providers.  M did not attend the hearing and Camden obtained an outright possession order.   Later the order was varied to a suspended order.  He was evicted in March 2005.

A certificate of incapacity was obtained.  It concluded that M had a mental disorder since April 2003.  The Official Solicitor was instructed on his behalf.  He applied to set aside the possession orders and for re-entry for M on the basis that the orders were without effect as he had no litigation friend when they were made.  (CPR 21.3(4))

Documentation showed that from at least October 2004 Camden was concerned that M had underlying mental health problems.  He had been banned from writing more than one letter per week to the council and there were records of telephone calls that he had made which were not rational.  Records also showed that the police and neighbours considered that he had mental health problems.

The judge set aside the possession orders.  He had concluded on the evidence that M’s incapacity had probably existed from April 2003 but at least from the start of 2004.

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