Case Law Analysis: Procedural Fairness Key Issue in Date-Bah & Anor v Radice Rent Repayment Order Dispute

Citation: [2023] UKUT 289 (LC)
Judgment on


The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) case of Kwasi Date-Bah & Anor v Rachel Radice sheds light on crucial aspects of procedural fairness in housing law, particularly concerning rent repayment orders and service of proceedings. This article analyzes the key topics and legal principles that underpin the decision of Upper Tribunal Judge Elizabeth Cooke, linking the overarching legal framework to specifics outlined in the case summary.

Key Facts

In Date-Bah & Anor v Radice, the appellants, Mr. and Mrs. Date-Bah, contested an FTT decision to issue a rent repayment order against them. Their appeal was based on the grounds of insufficient notice of the hearing and that the FTT should have adjourned the hearing for procedural fairness.

The Date-Bahs were landlords of a property requiring licensing under a selective licensing scheme by Waltham Forest Borough Council. The property was unlicensed for a period, which is punishable under section 95(1) of the Housing Act 2004. The tenant, Ms. Radice, applied for a rent repayment order after the tenancy ended, using the landlords’ last known email and postal addresses to serve notice, as per the expired tenancy agreement.

Despite their argument that they had not received any prior notices and were unprepared, the FTT did not adjourn the hearing. The FTT subsequently made a rent repayment order in the full amount claimed by Ms. Radice, amounting to £9,750.

The decision hinges on several legal principles, key among them:

  1. Service of Proceedings: The Tribunal’s decision to use an email address from the expired tenancy agreement was under scrutiny. Rule 16 of the Tribunal’s 2013 Rules outlines that email can be used if provided by the party.

  2. Case Management and Discretion: The FTT’s refusal to adjourn the hearing was based on case management powers, which afford a tribunal considerable discretion. However, such discretion must be exercised within a reasonable range, considering all relevant factors.

  3. Procedural Fairness: A core principle in this case is the right to a fair hearing, which includes sufficient time for a party to prepare their case and the chance to present evidence in their defense, as outlined in Rule 34 of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Property Chamber) Rules 2013.

  4. Admission of Fresh Evidence: The Tribunal’s consideration of whether to admit fresh evidence on appeal was governed by the decision in Ladd v Marshall [1954] EWCA Civ 1, which sets out criteria for the admission of new evidence at the appeal stage.

  5. Quantum of Rent Repayment Orders: When determining the quantum of rent repayment orders, tribunals are directed to consider the seriousness of the offence and relevant case law, such as Acheampong v Roman and others [2022] UKUT 239 (LC).


Judge Cooke set aside the FTT’s decision on procedural fairness grounds, noting that the FTT went beyond its discretionary margin in not adjourning. The case was remitted to the FTT for a new hearing by a different panel regarding the quantum of the amount to be paid. The application to admit fresh evidence on appeal was not considered necessary as the appeal was a review of the FTT’s existing decision.


The case of Date-Bah & Anor v Radice reiterates that tribunals must ensure compliance with procedural fairness, particularly in matters where serious consequences for the litigants may ensue. The integrity of housing law proceedings depends upon the thorough and careful application of established legal principles, including the appropriate service of proceedings and the legitimate exercise of case management discretion. This case ultimately sets a precedent for future rent repayment order disputes and the interpretation of procedural rules relative to fair notice and hearing opportunities.