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Posted on March 16th, 2013, by

1. Explain the meaning of each part of the following citations: [2004]UKHL30, [2003]2WLR 478 and the purpose of citations.
2004 is the year the case was tried in the House of Lords, UKHL30 ”“ the United Kingdom House of Lords decision 30;
2003 is the year the court of appeals tried the case and where the case was originally sent to, i.e. to WLR ”“ Wales Court of Appeal Civil Decision 478.
The purpose of the citation is to show proceedings of the case, which court has taken the decision on this case and what occurred to the case after the Court of Appeal has ruled. In such a way, it is possible to track the progress of the case.

2. Who brought the action and for what?
Mr. Ghaidon brought the action to return the flat lent to Mr. Hugh Wallwyn-James, who was the permanent tenant of the flat. However, Mr. Godin-Mendoza, who was in stable homosexual relationships and lived with Mr. Wallwyn-James till his death, appealed to the court of appeals on the ground that under the Human Rights Act of 1998, he has the right to stay in the flat as a tenant because he was a family member or spouse of the deceased Mr. Wallwyin-James.
3. In whose favour did the judge at first instance find and what was the order of the court?

The judge took the side of Mr. Godin-Mendoza on the ground of the Human Rights Act of 1998, according to which people living together, regardless of their gender, may be viewed as a family or spouses. However, the House of Lords dismissed the appeal on the ground of para 3(1) of Rent Act of 1977.

4. In what ways does the decision of the House of Lords in Ghaidan v Godin- Mendoza [2004] 2 A.C. 557 differ from that in Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association Ltd [2001] 1 AC 27 and what lead to these differences?
Unlike the Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association Ltd, the Ghaidan v Godin- Mendoza case involved the existence of the family for Godin-Mendoza lived with Wallwyn-James for a long time and had stable homosexual relationships.

5. Explain which of the following facts you consider ”˜material’, explaining, briefly, why they are or are not so?
i) That the defendant was a homosexual?
This fact is material because homosexuality of the defendant prevented him from being recognized as a spouse of the deceased tenant.
ii) That the defendant and original tenant had not been married.
This fact is not material because, according to the Rent Act of 1977, the tenants should not necessarily be married to have the right to succeed the tenancy.
iii) That the defendant and his late homosexual partner had lived together for at least ten years .
This fact is material because it proves that the defendant and his partner lived a sort of family life perceiving themselves as souses, even though they had not been married.
iv) That a cohabiting heterosexual partner was treated in the same way as a spouse?
This fact is material because, as a rule, heterosexual partner is treated as a spouse, even if he/she was not married with his/her partner.

6. How does Lord Nicholls justify the application of section 3 to this case?
Lord Nicholls justifies the application of section 3 by the fact of the long period of concubinage of the deceased tenant and the defendant.

7. What is meant by the expression ”˜the modified meaning remaining consistent with the fundamental features of the legislative scheme’ according to (a) Lord Nicholls and (b) Lord Millett?
This means that both Lords agree that the meaning of the concept of family and marriage should be modified to mirror the actual situation, including the existence of stable homosexual relations between couples.

8. Explain the reasoning of Baroness Hale in reaching her decision and how this approach differs in kind, from the other judges in the majority?
Baroness Hale basically supports other judges but she stresses that further interpretation of the term spouse is needed.

9 Which element of the use of language is the most problematic and in what way?
In this case, the concept of family and spouse are the most problematic because they are different from the family and spouse relations in the case.

9. Explain the arguments advanced by Lord Millett that led him to dissent.
Lord Millett argued that homosexual relations existed and therefore Godin-Mendoza should be treated as a spouse and Lord Millett suggested to apply the Human Rights Act of 1998 to the case.

10. Do you consider that this decision is sound in constitutional terms or would a ”˜declaration of incompatibility’ under s. 4 have been more appropriate?
Taking into consideration stable homosexual relationships between Godin-Mendoza and Wallwyn-James, the term of “declaration of incompatibility, would have been more appropriate because the family life of the defendant fails to match traditional concept of marriage and family.

Ghaidan v Godin-Mendoza [2004] UKHL 30; [2004] 2 AC 557 (HL)
Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association [2002]
Human Rights Act of 1998.
Rent Act of 1977.

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