Mr Simon Bell is happy to accept instructions as counsel who is:
Specialist in the areas of:
- Public & Administrative Law
- Planning and Infrastructure
Experienced in the following additional areas:
- Land & Property
- Media Law & Information Law
- Education Law
Happy to Help in the following additional areas:
- Brexit Law
- Criminal Law
Training in this area in the following additional areas:
- Land & Property
Outside of these key areas of law, Mr Simon Bell is always willing to consider any enquiry requiring the experience or knowledge needed to help you or your client. Please call Simon direct or the support team on 01823 247 247 if you would like to discuss any aspect of this profile.
R (Zoe Dawes) v Birmingham City Council
Mr. Justice Holgate has today handed down judgment in R (oao Zoe Dawes) v Birmingham City Council  EWHC 1676 (Admin) a claim brought by Miss. Dawes in respect of Birmingham City Council’s decision to execute a General Vesting Declaration (the “GVD”) on 13th August 2020 to vest the title of her property in the Council. The GVD was executed in furtherance of the Birmingham City Council (Acocks Green, Hodge Hill, Handsworth, Kings Heath, Selly Oak, Yardley, Moseley, Tyseley and Sutton Coldfield) (Empty Properties) Part II Housing Act 1985 Compulsory Purchase Order (No. 13) 2018, which was confirmed by the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government on 4th June 2019. This CPO was confirmed as part of a city wide policy to bring dilapidated and uninhabited houses back into occupation.
The claim concerned the Claimant’s attempts to bring the property into a reasonable state for occupation or a habitable condition to allow the property to be used as a family home for her and her disabled son following the confirmation of the CPO. As of the date of the execution of the GVD the Claimant and her son were occupying the property as their family home.
The claim before Holgate J was that the Council had been wrong to execute the GVD on three grounds:
- that the Council had failed to take reasonable steps to obtain information regarding the condition and occupation of the property (as per the principle set out in Secretary of State for Education and Science v Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council  AC 104 and summarised in R (Balajigari) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  1 WLR 4647),
- that the Council had failed to consider the Public Sector Equality Duty (“PSED”) in s.149 of the Equality Act 2010
- that the Council had failed to assess whether the GVD would breach the Article 8 rights of the Claimant and her son.
The Claimant succeeded on the first ground and as such, her claim has been allowed. As the Claimant succeeded on the first ground, the remaining grounds added nothing further.
It should be noted, however, that in respect of challenges brought to GVDs seeking to rely on grounds raising the PSED or Article 8, Holgate J expressed reservations in his judgment as to whether or not such grounds can form the basis of challenging a GVD or, indeed a Notice to Treat, where such issues had not been raised in relation to the CPO itself. The Court considered this to be an issue that will need consideration in future cases, and in more depth.
Simon Bell acted for the successful Claimant in this matter under a direct access instruction via Clerksroom Direct.
Anonymous Public Access client
Simon took on our case at short notice. He offered invaluable legal advice and dealt with our case in a swift and brilliant way. His professionalism, attention to detail, sincerity and empathy reassured us that we made a superb choice. We could not have asked for a better Barrister to represent us
Anonymous Public Access Client
Simon Bell- a great choice for a barrister on planning and transport matters! Simon Bell is a great barrister who has served us very well. He has really gone the extra mile when we know he has been very busy, juggling multiple priorities. He is very approachable, very responsive and we know that he is genuinely interested in our case, which is deeply reassuring when it the little guys taking on public institutions! We have no hesitation in recommending him to others.