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Stranded High and Exposed: Reflecting on Private Law after Grenfell

Due to circumstances relating to COVID-19 this event has been postponed until a later date.

Professor Susan Bright, University of Oxford

Since the terrible tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people died on 14th June 2017 it has emerged that thousands of other residential buildings also fail to meet fire safety requirements. Error, failure and missed opportunities by both private and public actors form part of the complex story of how this has come about, yet the one group of people who are without fault - those living in these blocks – are left ‘high and exposed’. Worrying for their personal safety they are trapped in homes that are unsafe and that they cannot sell or mortgage. Private law has left most of these flat-owners stranded. They have no power to compel anyone to fix the problem and are unable to recover their losses. This lecture reflects on the failings of private law, and property law in particular, to provide a route to justice. It is suggested that we need to rethink the idea of ownership in relation to multi-owned properties and ask what a model of property that supports propriety would look like.

The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with the following panel: Professor Susan Bright, Dr Deirdre Ni Fhloinn BL, Professor Rachael Walsh, Professor Desmond Ryan.