colinbrown

Over the past few months I have been assisting a constituent to resist a Notice to Quit served on him to evict him from his home. I have set a Crowdfunder up to raise funds to pursue a legal case on human rights grounds to halt the eviction of 67 year-old Colin Brown from his home of 27 years in Leith, Edinburgh.

We are raising funds via Crowdjustice here https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/colinbrown/

Colin’s landlord is a company called Express Investment Company Ltd. The company owned 29 residential properties as at March 2018 and is disposing of all of them. In the case of eleven tenants who have secure tenancies, their homes have been sold with the sitting tenants remaining in their homes. Notices to Quit on the remaining properties have been served and the tenants have left. Colin Brown is the last remaining tenant. He is challenging his eviction in the First Tier Tribunal at a hearing on 17 January 2020.

This crowdfunder is not concerned with this tribunal hearing but with a wider planned challenge to the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 on the grounds that in the circumstances of this case, the legislation violates Colin Brown’s human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 8 Right to Respect for Private and Family Life and Article 1 of Protocol 1 Protection of Property).

We believe that it may not be proportionate under Article 8 to evict a tenant who is 67 years old and has lived in his home for over 27 years. We believe that it may violate Colin’s rights under Article 1 of Protocol 1 as it may be disproportionate to remove his property rights (the 27 year tenancy) in favour of a corporate landlord who by definition cannot e.g. live in the property.

Why does this matter?
This case clearly matters for Colin Brown but it could also be of wider significance to the 15% of the Scottish population who live in the private rented sector. We believe that there are elements of private tenancy law that do not adequately uphold the human right to a home, to a private and family life and to possessions because it is too easy in too many cases to evict a tenant at short notice.

What do we propose to do?
We propose to obtain an Urgent Opinion by a leading Advocate as to the likely grounds and chances of success of this action. We have already secured pro bono advice from a leading academic authority in the field of ECHR.

How much we are raising and why?
We propose to raise £10,000 to secure this Opinion and to review the options open to use once it has been given. if we then decide to proceed to litigation, we will launch a new and separate crowdfunder.

This is about the worst time of year to ask anyone to donate money but Colin faces eviction and too many other private tenants live insecure lives. Thank you for whatever support you are able to provide.

Crowdfunder here https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/colinbrown/

30. October 2019 · Comments Off on Defamation 8 · Categories: Announcements, Defamation, Legal affairs

The case of Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC vs Andy Wightman has been running in Court 6 at the Court of Session before Lord Clark, presiding.The case opened on Tuesday 29 October.

As a defender I am unable to comment on proceedings thus far. The BBC carried a brief report on the first day’s proceedings.

The Times has carried a report on Day 1 and on Day 2.

For those interested, I am now able to publish the Closed Record (the pleadings of pursuer and answers from defender) as it is now a court document and in the public domain.

Download a copy here (2Mb pdf)

I will likely be examined on Friday 1 November. The Court is open to the public. All welcome. The Court normally sits 1000 – 1600 with a break for lunch.

16. May 2019 · Comments Off on Defamation 7 Crowdfunder · Categories: Announcements, Defamation, Legal affairs

On 21 March 2017 I was served with a summons by Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC. It is a defamation action in which the pursuer is claiming £750,000 damages (plus 8% annual interest). The action relates to two blogs I wrote In September 2015 and February 2016.

The case will be heard in the Court of Session over 8 days commencing 29 October 2019. The judicial costs (the time spent in court) have been estimated by a Judicial Accountant at £120,000. In addition, there are other legal costs incurred in preparing the case. These are estimated to be in the region of a further £60,000. I raised £54,000 of these in a previous crowdfunder. Further costs that I am meeting personally include research and travel costs associated with gathering evidence across the UK and in the Channel Islands.

I am thus launching what I hope will be a final crowdfunder to cover my judicial costs of £120,000.

Unlike other defamation actions where the content of the alleged defamatory material is well publicised, I need to conceal the blogs in question and cannot publish the detailed allegations until they are entered in court proceedings.

Please therefore note the following before deciding whether to donate.

1. Neither you nor I can know what the result of this case will be. I am confident that I have not defamed the pursuer but the Court has been asked to determine that. Before you donate therefore, be aware that you cannot form an informed view on the likelihood of success.

2. If I am successful in defending this case, I should be able to secure the recovery of most of my legal expenses. The pursuer has deposited £120,000 in the Court to cover this eventuality. In this event, I will reimburse all those who have contributed to my defence fund in proportion to what each party (including myself) has contributed. Thus, if I am successful, you can be assured that you will receive some of your donation back. I have appointed a Chartered Accountant to conduct an independent audit of my costs. An audited statement to 13 May 2018 is available here.

3. Funds raised in this crowdfunder shall be used solely for my legal expenses in the case. If I lose the case and damages are awarded to my pursuer, I shall be personally liable for those. If those damages are substantial, I may have no option but to declare myself bankrupt and be disqualified from serving as an MSP.

Finally, there are a lot of very deserving causes out there. I am launching this crowdfunder because some people have offered to help and for that I am very grateful. So please do consider carefully whether you wish to support this appeal or not.

Thank you to everyone who has provided generous support over the past two years.

If you are willing to donate, please proceed to the crowdfunder page.