No heightened civil standard of proof for anti-social behaviour injunctions

We welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling in Jones v Birmingham City Council and the Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] UKSC 27, which provides much-needed clarity for our clients in dealing with anti-social behaviour cases.

In the recent decision, the Court considered the compatibility of Part 4 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 (“2009 Act”) with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Court’s consideration centered around two key issues: –

  1. Whether proceedings brought on the basis of allegations of engaging, assisting, or encouraging criminal conduct, to impose serious restrictions on freedom of movement, association, and expression, require proof to the criminal standard for fairness under Article 6(1) ECHR, even if the proceedings are civil.

  1. Alternatively, whether fairness demands that conduct must be proven to the criminal standard.

Lord Lloyd-Jones delivered the sole judgment and the Court dismissed Mr Jones’ appeal, affirming that Article 6(1) of the ECHR does not require the criminal standard of proof for proving gang-related violence or gang-related drug dealing activity under the 2009 Act. Further, the Court also considered anti-social behaviour in the context of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The Court acknowledged that Parliament had devised statutory schemes ensuring a fair hearing under Article 6 of the ECHR, and it confirmed that there is no heightened civil standard for such cases.

The decision not only addresses applications for injunctions to prevent gang-related violence or drug dealing under the 2009 Act, but also establishes the test to be applied in applications under Part 1 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 (“2014 Act”). The judgment holds significance for local authorities, police forces, and social housing providers.

The judgment should put an end to debate regarding a heightened civil standard in anti-social behaviour cases in the County Court, even when behaviour of a criminal nature is involved. However, it is essential to note that strong and compelling evidence is still crucial to prove the case successfully.

A full copy of the judgment can be found here Jones (Appellant) v Birmingham City Council and another (Respondents) (

For further legal advice on the case and its impact, please contact Andy Moore, Head of Anti-Social Behaviour (Social Housing).

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