Kelvin Rutledge Q.C. is a specialist in local government law. His practice covers most areas of local authority activities but with particular emphasis on housing, adult social care, children’s services, land dealings and governance. He regularly represents local authorities in judicial review cases, appeals, civil trials and inquests. He has related expertise in human rights, European and discrimination law and is also a highly experienced and knowledgeable property lawyer. He is mainly based in London, where he is a member of Cornerstone Barristers, but has a strong client base in the North and North East.
Kelvin was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2013. His wide experience as an advocate includes appearances in the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice. Around 100 of his past cases appear in the law reports. He has for a number of years trained students of Middle Temple on ‘Appellate Advocacy’.
Kelvin provides advocacy, advisory and drafting services in relation to a wide range of topics including homelessness and housing allocation schemes, care homes, housing finance, elections, land appropriation, leaseholder's rights, ombudsman's complaints, ordinary residence disputes and equality duties. He regularly provides assistance to authorities on matters of policy and public governance. He also appears and advises in related areas of private law.
Common themes running through the directory entries are that Kelvin is a knowledgeable and technically-able lawyer, a tenacious advocate with a friendly and accessible manner, and that clients enjoy working with him. He has a strong work ethic and can be relied upon to meet deadlines.
Kelvin’s past cases include some of the leading authorities in his areas of practice. In the adult social care field he represented the successful councils in Slough BC v M, in which the House of Lords redefined “care and attention”, and in McDonald v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, in which the Supreme Court gave important judgments on resources, human rights and equality duties. His social housing cases include Hotak v Southwark LBC (definition of 'vulnerability'), Runa Begum v Tower Hamlets LBC (homelessness reviews), and Kay v Lambeth LBC, Powell v Hounslow LBC and Hall v Leeds CC (possession proceedings and human rights), all decisions of the Supreme Court or House of Lords.
Public Law & Judicial Review
Kelvin has substantial experience and tactical knowledge and expertise of judicial review, especially defence work. In particular, he has considerable knowledge and experience of defending decisions to reduce public services: see, for example, R(McDonald) v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in the Supreme Court. Due to careful handling, many of these cases do not go to a full hearing. For disputes concerning the interplay between local government and health services see R(LB Greenwich) v Secretary of State for Health  EWHC 2576 (Admin). For claimant work, see R (Structadene) v LB Hackney (2001) 82 P. & C.R. 25 (acted for successful claimant against local authority's failure to sell land for best value). For factually sensitive cases see R(M) v LB Hackney  EWHC 2255 (Admin) (successfully defended local authority's decision not to rehouse a highly vulnerable individual who was a convicted paedophile). For politically sensitive cases see Ibrahim v LB Harrow  2 C.M.L.R. 30 (housing duties for spouse of EU worker – appeared in ECJ in Luxembourg, subsequent national press coverage), R(Beale) v LB Camden  EWHC 6 (Admin) (the "Camden ALMO case") and Swords v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government  EWCA Civ 795 (both high profile challenges to council housing stock transfers).
Chambers & Partners recognises that Kelvin Rutledge has a formidable reputation in the social housing sector describing him as "exceptional", "leaves no stone unturned in his preparation." His thorough and detailed approach is complemented by a "wonderfully accessible and friendly manner," which naturally means he is "adored by clients." The Legal 500 describes him as an "outstanding housing lawyer".
Kelvin's experience includes:
- Housing eligibility for EU 15 and A8 nationals including Ibrahim v Harrow LBC in the European Court of Justice
- Adult residential care following Slough BC v M (in which he appeared for the successful local authority)
- Supporting "looked after" children through tertiary education
- Contracting out housing functions
- Premises closure orders
- Public/private sector housing finance schemes
- Stock transfers
- Public law defences to possession claims post-Doherty
- Tenancy rights of minors
Health & Social Care
Representing clients in the Administrative Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in the full spectrum of health and social care matters, including adult and child social care, mental capacity and mental health law.
Acting on behalf of local authorities, healthcare providers, families and individuals.
Instructed on major strategic matters such as budget setting and formulation of policy and procedure, as well as commercially and reputationally sensitive cases including judicial review proceedings.
Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
LECTURES & SEMINARS
Kelvin is a well-known speaker at both national and regional conferences and training programmes on topics relating to his fields of specialism. He provided national training on the Care Act 204 and Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.
Inside Housing - Housing associations could be vulnerable to judicial review if they refuse to sell tenants the homes they are living in under the extended Right to Buy 22nd June 2016
Inside Housing has published an article which considers a legal opinion by Kelvin Rutledge QC and Ashley Bowes. The legal opinion commissioned by Future Housing Review, states that there is no legal barrier to prevent a housing association exempting its entire portfolio under the extended Right to Buy scheme, providing it adopts a policy explaining why the homes should not be sold. The opinion notes that tenants may have grounds to judicially review the decision to exclude their property.
Message from the Heads of Team…what lies ahead in Housing? 14th October 2014
Solicitors Journal - Cracking down on disruption 30th March 2009
'Cracking down on disruption: Premises closure orders' for the Solicitor's Journal
Judicial Review and Support for Persons From Abroad 1st January 2009
The Local Government Group's Judicial Review and Support for Persons From Abroad.
Housing Law; Lime Legal’s Allocation & Homelessness 1st January 2008
Annual conference: Jordan's Housing Law; Lime Legal's Allocation & Homelessness
Solicitor's Journal - In Possession, Blogging the Law 4th August 2006
Author of 'In Possession, Blogging the Law' for the Solicitor's Journal.
Journal of Housing Law: Homelessness Law 1st January 2006
Author of 'Homelessness Law: Interim Accommodation and the EEA National' for the Journal of Housing Law.