Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

Traveller other

The Enshrined Right to Travel : The Bromley Case

London Borough of Bromley v Persons Unknown, London Gypsies and Travellers and others [2020] EWCA Civ 12

Introduction

As many readers will know, London Borough of Bromley (‘Bromley’) appealed to the County Court against the refusal of “a de facto boroughwide prohibition of encampment and entry/occupation…in relation to all accessible public spaces in Bromley” ( in the words of Ms Ann-Leigh Mulcahy QC, sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court, when refusing the injunction). Some 38 similar injunctions have been granted by the High Court in recent years. In the Bromley case, London Gypsies and Travellers (LGT) intervened represented by Marc Willers QC and Tessa Buchanan of Garden Court Chambers and CLP (all acting substantially pro bono). This was, therefore, the first case involving such an injunction in which the Gypsy and Traveller community were represented before the High Court. As a result of the success of LGT in getting the wide injunction discharged (an injunction just against fly tipping and depositing waste was granted), this was also the first case to be argued out at appellate level. At Court of Appeal level Liberty and seven other local authorities also intervened.

URGENT PRESS RELEASE – Injunctions criticised in landmark ruling

A landmark Court of Appeal judgment released today has criticised the use of wide injunctions which target Gypsy and Traveller encampments. The Court of Appeal handed down a very significant judgment, dismissing an appeal by Bromley Council against the High Court’s decision to refuse the Council’s application for an injunction against “persons unknown” stopping on public land in the Borough.

London Borough of Bromley v Persons Unknown and London Gypsies & Travellers

London Borough of Bromley v Persons Unknown and London Gypsies & Travellers – [2019] EWHC 1675, 17 May 2019

The London Borough of Bromley (LBB) sought a final injunction against ‘persons unknown prohibiting unauthorised occupation and/or deposition of waste’ on 171 parcels of land owned or managed by them. The application for an injunction was clearly targeted wholly or mainly at Gypsies and Travellers. This was in a context where over 30 local authorities throughout England had already obtained such injunctions.

R (Ward & Ors) – v – LB Hillingdon and EHRC (Interveners)

[2019] EWCA Civ 692, 16 April 2019

Ms Ward and Mr McDonagh were Irish Travellers who applied for housing to LB Hillingdon (LBH) and were placed in the lowest band on the waiting list because they had not resided in the borough for 10 years. Mr Gullu was an asylum seeker who was also placed in the lowest band for the same reason. At first instance, Supperstone J held that LBH had indirectly discriminated against Ms Ward and Mr McDonagh but Mostyn J dismissed the calm by Mr Gullu. The Court of Appeal concluded that the 10 year residency requirement amounted to indirect discrimination against all 3 claimants and that LBH had failed to justify that indirect discrimination. However the Court of Appeal did not uphold Supperstone J’s finding that the 10 year residency requirement also amounted to a breach of Children Act 2004 s11.

R (TW, SW and EM) – v – London Borough of Hillingdon and EHRC (intervener) [2018] EWHC 1791 (Admin) 13 July 2018

The London Borough of Hillingdon (LBH) allocates social housing in accordance with an Allocations Policy from 2016.  Under that Policy, applicants for social housing are placed into Bands (A, B, C or D) according to priority for social housing which they have under the policy.  Obviously a person in Band A has a better chance of being allocated housing than a person in Band B and so on.

Public Law Defences to Possession Actions

Davies v Hertfordshire CC [2018] WLR(D) 1411, is not a Traveller case but is a useful reminder that, even where there is no security of tenure, a public law defence can be put forward to a possession action (in this case concerning Children Act 2004 section 11).

See the transcript at: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2018/379.html&query=(davies)+AND+(v)+AND+(hertfordshire)

Water Rates

Jones – v – London Borough of Southwark [2016] EWHC 457 (Ch) 4 March 2016

It was revealed in this case that London Borough of Southwark and a number of other local authorities regarded themselves as agents in the collection of water rates for Thames Water but that they were in fact re-sellers and thus subject to the Water Resale Order 2006 which imposes maximum charges on re-sellers and allows only for modest administration charges.

R (VC) v North Somerset Council (Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening) CO/3801/2015

This claim concerned a challenge brought by an Irish Traveller to a “local connection” requirement contained within North Somerset Council’s housing allocations scheme, which had been extended beyond Part VI Housing Act 1996 allocations to cover Gypsy/Traveller site allocations. The effect of that requirement was that the Claimant, who could not point to a local connection to North Somerset, was denied entry to the Council’s housing register.

The Traveller Movement and Others – v – J D Wetherspoon Plc

The Traveller Movement and Others – v – J D Wetherspoon Plc, Central London County Court, 18 May 2015, HHJ Hand QC

On 17th November 2011 the annual Traveller Movement Conference took place.  As usual the Conference took place at the offices of the Traveller Movement (offices shared with other organisations) at the Resource Centre on Holloway Road in London.  Also as usual, after the Conference, some of the delegates went for a drink to the Coronet public house next door,  a public house run by J D Wetherspoon.   There was no evidence of any problems having been caused in previous years or in this year by delegates from the Conference.  However, there was evidence of problems following on from a Conference at the Resource Centre in 2005 on the occasion of the Anarchist Book Fair.

R(Patrick Mahoney, Frances Jones and Rachel Cleary) -v- SSCLG

R(Patrick Mahoney, Frances Jones and Rachel Cleary) -v- Secretary of State For Communities and Local Government [2015] EWHC 589 (Admin) 9 MARCH 2015

In this case, the Claimant Irish Travellers, who have to move from their site to an alternative site due to the Crossrail Project, challenged their inability, under the Land Compensation 1973, to claim home loss payments (unlike the situation for house dwellers).  Unfortunately they were unsuccessful in this challenge.