Date: February 23, 2011
Author: Adam Wagner
We all know that there are a few unscrupulous people out there who will not do the right thing and avoid fulfilling their obligations and responsibilities and then seek to use the protection of human rights legislation to support their position.
Right minded people begin to think that Human Rights are pointless and should be abolished because of such abuse. This is a dangerous position to support as there must be checks and balances and anyone in power must be accountable to someone else for any unlawful and unconstitutional actions.
Over time, this impacts on those who legitimately depend on human rights legislation in lawful opposition to corruption and injustice.
The use of “proportionality” in this case while good shows that individuals and families are left vulnerable to the principles adopted by local councils and public authorities that “might is right”.
We were privy to a recent case and sent out a press release to the media about a similar situation where a disabled man was threatened with homelessness due to a business loan secured against his home. While this is an entirely different situation and the man had the funds to pay the outstanding loan, he was being denied from doing so by a restraint order issued under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
He was driven to attempt suicide by the stress and Kafkaesque situation in which he was placed and despite pointing out how and by whom he had been prevented from meeting his obligations, a judgement was made against him. This was not a case of wilful non-payment of a debt but due to the vast chasm between the criminal and civil arenas he was left in limbo and forced to defend himself.
Eviction in this case certainly breaches human rights and this wheelchair dependant man was left in a desperate situation causing him to attempt to take his own life (which was thankfully prevented by friends) which serves to highlight the fact that being right and doing the right thing – the honourable thing – you have no guarantee of equality under law.
It may be that the bank in question did all the right things under the legislation but how could an individual left to deal with this matter unassisted know his rights and know for sure that the bank had indeed acted correctly and with due diligence?
Was the order made by the District Judge proportional considering that in the execution of that order a vulnerable individual would be put onto the streets and place a burden on the local council to house him which considering his special needs, would be difficult to say the least?
With the current government’s proposals to limit occupancy of social housing to a finite period of two years; one is left wondering how this will impact on the subject of social housing allocations and the effects it will have on our communities as a whole.