A Birmingham man yesterday emerged victorious from an Appeal Court battle with the city council over his right to stay in his family home of more than 40 years.
In a ruling of importance to thousands of council tenants, top judges said the council has no right to demand that Paul Walker leave his home in Hatcham Road, Kingstanding, into which he and his parents moved in 1965 and where he has lived ever since.
Lord Justice Mummery, sitting with Lord Justice Rix and Mr Justice Peter Smith, accepted that Mr Walker had "succeeded" to his mother Betty's "secure tenancy" over the property when she died in 2004.
The ruling on a legal issue which had not been considered before by the higher courts is a stinging defeat for the city council which has a long housing waiting list and badly wanted to "free up" the three-bedroom house to be allocated to a family in need.
But the appeal judge said that, as Mr Walker had been living in the house as a family member "throughout the period of 12 months" ending with Betty's death, he was entitled to all the secure tenancy rights his mother once had.
Mr Walker's father, Bertram, died in 1969, and Betty inherited the tenancy by "survivorship".
Lord Justice Mummery rejected the council's plea that Betty had herself "succeeded" to the tenancy when her husband died and there could not be a second "succession" in favour of her son under the terms of the 1985 Housing Act.