Jurisdiction and scale: rent arrears, social housing, and human rights

Caroline Margaret Hunter, David Cowan, H. Pawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper draws on the recent work of Mariana Valverde on jurisdiction and scale to frame a study of the interaction between mandatory possession proceedings brought by one particular type of social housing provider - housing associations - and national as well as human rights law. It was the explicit political choice to focus social housing provision on housing associations, as opposed to local authorities, which opened up the mandatory possession jurisdiction. The essence of the argument is that, despite the apparent incommensurability of these different scales and jurisdictions, they are able to accommodate each other quite happily. Two sets of texts are used to develop this argument. First, consideration is given to the legal technicality through which mandatory possession proceedings might be challenged. Second, we draw on data from a study of housing associations practices and policies on the use of one particular mandatory ground of possession for rent arrears, demonstrating the way in which scale and jurisdiction, political rationality and technologies intertwine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-295
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • jurisdiction;
  • scale;
  • legal technicality;
  • possession;

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