An example was the 2005 case of Joseph Taylor v Lancashire County Council where the tenant pointed to the different procedures for dealing with various kinds of breach of tenancy. He argued that his human rights were infringed by legislation which applied a harsher regime to his set of circumstances than to other similar ones. The argument was rejected.
The Scottish case of Salvesen v Riddell, Lord Advocate intervening is a curiosity in that by the time it came to the appeal, the original parties had settled their differences and the case was continued without them because of the important legal point that it raised.
The context was the traditional Scottish method of limiting security of tenure to farm tenancies by the grant of a tenancy to a limited partnership, which included the landlord as a member. In Scotland such partnerships are distinct legal beings and when the landowner ends the partnership then the tenancy also ends.
In 2003, legislation was introduced in Scotland to create a fixed term tenancy regime, comparable in many ways to the farm business tenancy. Landowners were in a position before the legislation to end their partnerships and obtain possession, and there was also a procedure after it was passed enabling them to achieve effectively the same result. Under a transitional part of the arrangement, a landowner who served a dissolution notice between 16 September 2002 and June 2003 was in a worse position than those who acted before or after.
The landlord was successful in showing that his right to property under the Human Rights Act 1998 had been infringed and because of the arbitrary application of the provisions creating special treatment for notices given during this short period, the legislation was struck down.
The circumstances are highly complex and unusual. The fact that a victory has been chalked up with Human Rights prevailing over the law of farm tenancies is unlikely to mean a flood of other successful claims.