Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

News

Tackling Inequalities Faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities

This is the long awaited report from the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee which was published on 5 April 2019. Below we have some quotes (in italics) and some comments from us. CLP in conjunction with Ruston Planning made submissions to the Committee but, since our submissions centred on accommodation issues for those who live in caravans, we were wasting our breath apparently (see below).

LASPO Review

The Government’s long awaited review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 has finally been published: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/777038/post-implementation-review-of-part-1-of-laspo.pdf

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has also published an ‘action plan’: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/777036/legal-support-the-way-ahead.pdf

Using A Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut

By Marc Willers QC and Tessa Buchanan of Garden Court Chambers and Chris Johnson of Community Law Partnership solicitors

In recent months, there has been a marked increase in the number of local authorities seeking so-called ‘wide injunctions’. In one such case, London Borough of Bromley v Persons Unknown, the claimant authority is seeking an injunction against Traveller encampments covering 171 pieces of public land. London Gypsies and Travellers (LGT) have been granted permission to intervene in this case. LGT are represented pro bono by the authors of this piece.

CLP at the Supreme Court

The legal team and supporters of Terryann Samuels at the Supreme Court : Alex Pearce (mini-pupil Garden Court North Chambers); Ranjit Bains (CLP); Des Smith; Alex Bellew (CLP); Mike McIlvaney (CLP); Rosaleen Kilbane (CLP); Hugh McIlvaney; James Stark (GCN); Tom Royston (GCN).

The case of Terryann Samuels –v- Birmingham City Council came to the Supreme Court on Thursday 31st January 2019.

The appellant was the tenant of a house at 18 Dagger Lane from November 2010 to July 2011, when her tenancy was terminated due to rent arrears.  She was in receipts of benefits, including housing benefit, which did not cover her actual rent, but left her with a monthly shortfall.  She made a homelessness application to the respondent housing authority but was judged to have become homeless intentionally, because her house was affordable.  She appealed, claiming that the respondent had failed to follow the relevant guidance and had not given adequate reasons for the conclusion that there was sufficient flexibility in her income from benefits to fund the weekly shortfall in rent.

Chambers Directory

We have been ranked in Band 1 in the Chambers Directory for social housing. It says of us:-

“Well-regarded team with nationwide recognition.  Offers a diverse range of services including advice on possession and eviction proceedings, homelessness and housing allocation, and the defence of anti-social behaviour actions.  Also fields a number of specialists in accommodation for the Traveller community”.

All we need are Sites

By Chris Johnson of CLP and Marc Willers QC of Garden Court Chambers

The Beatles sang ‘All you need is love’ whilst our refrain is ‘All we need are sites’. This has long been the song sung by Gypsies, Travellers and those that support them and campaign for their rights; and it was the reverberating theme of their responses to the recent Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) consultation on strengthening enforcement powers.

Remove a Tenant? Maybe not this time!

A Circuit Judge has ruled that an order for possession made under Ground 8 Schedule 2 Housing Act 1988 be set aside because the notice sent to the tenant omitted certain words in reciting the statutory ground relied upon. Ground 8 is a ground for possession available to certain landlords when arrears of rent are seriously high (usually 2 months or more). Where this ground applies, the Court usually does not have the power to refuse to make the possession order (although there are numerous ways of defeating a Ground 8 claim).

A Comparison of the New and Old Police Guidance on Unauthorised Encampments

In June 2018 the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) introduced new guidance on unauthorised encampments, Operational Advice on Unauthorised Encampments, to replace the previous Association of Chief Police Officers’ Guidance on Unauthorised Encampments (2011). The new NPCC Advice can be found here: http://www.npcc.police.uk/documents/Unauthorised%20Encampments/NPCC%20Op%20Advice%20on%20Unauthorised%20Encampments_June%2018.pdf