Injunctions, Capacity and MTA v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and Lord Chancellor [2023] EWHC 117 (KB), 25 January 2023

Injunctions under Part 1 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 are a useful, and usually effective, legal tool for Social Housing Providers when faced with allegations that a person has engaged, or threatened to engage, in housing related anti-social behaviour.

Social Housing Providers must, however, consider carefully whether the perpetrator/respondent of the alleged ASB has the mental capacity to understand any injunction before the Application is issued.

The recent case of MTA v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and Lord Chancellor highlights the pitfalls and risks of applying for an anti-social behaviour injunction when the Respondent may lack mental capacity to understand its meaning.

MTA had severe learning disabilities. His mother’s landlord made an application for an Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction and a power of arrest against MTA. A medical report confirmed that MTA lacked capacity to understand the proceedings and he did not understand the meaning of the injunction. The committal application was dismissed but interestingly, the injunction was not discharged at that hearing.

MTA was then arrested and held for allegedly breaching the injunction on two separate occasions.  He was held overnight and released the next day. Eventually, the interim injunction, on application, was discharged on the basis that MTA lacked the capacity to understand its meaning.

MTA then brought a claim against the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and Lord Chancellor for breach of the Human Rights Act, as he should not have been imprisoned when he lacked the capacity to understand the injunction.

The Lord Chancellor applied to strike out the Human Rights damages claim on the basis that MTA should have appealed the injunctions and as such the claim was an abuse of process.

Freedman J dismissed the strike-out application stating:

“I am satisfied in the light of the above that the claim for damages should not be struck

out for the following reasons, namely:

(i) on the information before the Court on this application, there is no abuse of

process in proceeding with the claim without an appeal against each or any

of the orders to which the Claimant objects, particularly in view of the fact

that the Court has found in broad terms that the Claimant lacked litigation

capacity and injunction capacity;

(ii) on the information at this stage, there is no affront to the administration of

justice or harassment or oppression to the other parties in the case for the

claim for damages to be brought without a prior appeal or a judicial review;

(iii) in all the circumstances, this is not a case where it is clear and obvious that

the claim is an abuse of process such as to require a strike out;

(iv) on the contrary, there are case management reasons which indicate that the

sensible course is to allow the claim for damages to proceed without an


(v) in any event, a strike out is a discretionary remedy, and it is one for various

reasons which ought not to be exercised, especially by reference to the

factors which militate against a strike out and the absence of prejudice to

anybody else in the case;

(vi) I reject the alleged constitutional reasons for striking out the claim: if they

exist at all, they do not in the context of the case as a whole militate in

favour of depriving the Claimant of his remedy under section 9 (if the claim

is otherwise well made out).”

Although the substantive claim is not yet determined, this case highlights firstly, the importance of carefully considering any mental health impairments prior to issuing an Application for an ASB injunction. Further, when a person is assessed as lacking capacity to understand the injunction, it stresses the importance of ensuring that any injunction is dismissed and or varied appropriately. It also shows the value of good communication with the police authorities to ensure they are aware of changes in the case in terms of capacity, even if the injunction remains technically ‘live’, plus the pitfalls for the police if they get it wrong.

If you have any questions about ASB injunctions, please do not hesitate to contact Louise Murphy, Head of Social Housing and Regeneration at MSB on

Law is correct as at 18th April 2023

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the law in this article is correct, it is intended to give a general overview of the law for educational purposes. You are respectfully reminded that it is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No liability is accepted for any error or omission contained herein.

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