In March 2018 the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups, Friends Families and Travellers, the Roma Support Group and Roma Community Care produced a very important report on the above issue (Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategies in the United Kingdom). Here are some extracts from that report and you can find a copy of the report at the following link:- https://www.gypsy-traveller.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/NRIS-CSMR.pdf
Thanks to Tessa Buchanan of Garden Court Chambers for her comments on this paper.
In August 2015, the new Planning policy for traveller sites (PPTS) was published by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (SSCLG – as he then was). This introduced a number of amendments to the Government guidance on planning issues relating to Gypsy and Traveller sites. Many of these changes were regarded as detrimental to the interests of such applicants, but perhaps the most controversial has been the amendment made to the definition of Gypsy/Traveller contained in Annex 1 of the PPTS. This definition governs who will, and who will not, be regarded as a Gypsy or Traveller for planning purposes and therefore who will, and who will not, be entitled to the more permissive regime of the PPTS. It is a question of immense importance both to local planning authorities and to individual applicants.
 Now the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
Discussion paper by Chris Johnson of CLP and Tim Jones of No 5 Chambers on the subject of intervention in Judicial Review proceedings.
In Autumn 2015 the Labour Party asked Lord Bach to carry out a review of access to justice in England and Wales.
We have had sight of the draft guidance now made available by DCLG. The EHRC’s Briefing Paper sets out all the key arguments for the retention of the current statutory scheme – i.e. sections 225/226 Housing Act 2004 when read together with section 8 Housing Act 1985 – and we cannot improve upon its content. There is an even greater need for the current statutory scheme to remain in place so as to ensure that those vulnerable Gypsies and Travellers who are now excluded from relying upon the positive planning guidance on the provision of caravan sites contained in Planning policy for traveller sites 2015 by virtue of the change to the planning definition of ‘gypsies and travellers’ can have their accommodation needs properly met. Clause 115 and the draft guidance will, quite simply, not achieve this. For the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s briefing paper see: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/housing-and-planning-bill-house-lords-committee-stage
Marc Willers QC, Garden Court Chambers Chris Johnson, Travellers Advice Team at Community Law Partnership
March 15th 2016
This Conference organised by Leeds Gypsy and Traveller exchange took place at the offices of the Traveller Movement in London on 25 February 2016. The Travellers Advice Team produced a paper for the conference and you can find this paper here:-
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Legal Aid and Judicial Review – A Community Law Partnership (CLP) Discussion Paper
Shortly before the General Election the Government introduced new regulations restricting the availability of legal aid in judicial review cases. Given that we now have a Conservative majority government, it seems that these regulations will remain in place. These regulations may have severely detrimental effects on Gypsies and Travellers and CLP believe these regulations are highly challengeable. If you want to discuss this matter or if you are a Gypsy or Traveller who wants to challenge these regulations please telephone us on our advice line, 0121 685 8677.
TAT provide advice, assistance and representation throughout England and Wales. We do not cover Scotland or Northern Ireland. However, in his ongoing work on the Legal Action book on Gypsy and Traveller law, of which he is co-editor, Chris Johnson had reference to the latest version of the Police Scotland Guidance Gypsies/Travellers Management of Unauthorised Encampments : Standard Operating Procedure (2014). This Guidance is extremely positive in the way it approaches the issue of unauthorised encampments and we hope that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), who are considering their own Guidance which covers England and Wales, will have reference to the Scottish Guidance. To take just one example:-
6.4 Although unauthorised encampment is a criminal offence, in accordance with the Scottish Government Guidelines for Managing Unauthorised Camping by Gypsies/Travellers in Scotland, there is a general presumption against prosecution of Gypsies/Travellers for setting up unauthorised encampments. Prosecution will only be considered when:-
a) A suitable alternative stopping place has been identified and the Gypsies/Travellers have refused to re-locate within a reasonable time (it is the responsibility of the local authority to identify the stopping place. The Police have no power to do this); or b) Where the use of a particular site by Gypsies/Travellers, or the excessive size of the encampment, causes a severe road safety or public health hazard; or
c) Where the same Gypsies/Travellers have been repeatedly evicted from a site by the local authority and return after a short time.
6.5 Failure by a Local Authority to assess or make provision for the needs of Gypsies/Travellers will serve to reinforce the presumption against prosecution. However, the presumption may be overridden by other public interest considerations arguing in favour of prosecution. This may include serious disruption to businesses and/or members of the public as a result of offensive or criminal behaviour by Gypsies/Travellers.
FFT and CLP have produced a discussion paper about this Guidance. The paper includes recommendations to the ACPO. Here is the discussion paper:
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In 2011 the European Union called on all member states to produce strategies in this area. The UK government have failed to produce a proper strategy. The National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups are now carrying out work on this vital issue. As part of this process we have produced a discussion paper. Here it is:
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