In the Housing and Planning Bill which is currently going through Parliament, the Government propose to abolish Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessments. For a blog on this matter by Chris Johnson of CLP, Marc Willers QC of Garden Court Chambers and the independent planning consultant, Dr Simon Ruston, see: http://travellerstimes.org.uk/Blogs–Features/ASSESSING-THE-NEED-FOR-GYPSY-AND-TRAVELLER-SITES-.aspx
Europe’s largest local housing authority, Birmingham City Council told a Judge last week that they had tried to evict households without going through the correct court processes. We acted for one such family who were at risk of the same thing happening to them and we are encouraging those who may have been affected to see an experienced Housing Law Solicitor urgently.
Lord Avebury, who, despite his ill health, continues to campaign on behalf of Gypsies and Travellers, has commissioned a report from the Planning Consultant, Dr Simon Ruston. This report looks at how the local authorities in Dorset have failed to comply with Government Planning Guidance. You can find a link to the report here:-
As mentioned below, Parminder Sanghera of the Travellers Advice Team was shortlisted for an award but, on 1st July 2015 at the awards ceremony, she was pipped at the post by Jayesh Kunwardia of Hodge Jones and Allen, a partner in that firm who had recently won a leading housing case in the Supreme Court. However it was an excellent result for Parminder to get into the final three for this award. Parminder is currently considering returning to the High Court to challenge the continuing failure of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to ensure that the results of Gypsy and Traveller planning appeal decisions in the Green Belt are delivered. Watch this space!
We are representing a boater in defending an action taken against him by Canal and River Trust who argue that he is not using his boat ‘bona fide for navigation’ as required by the British Waterways Act 1995. Part of his defence relies on article 8 of the Human Rights Act (the right to respect for private and family life and home). A county court judge struck out the article 8 part and our appeal to a high court judge was dismissed. We are pleased to inform readers that our client has just been given leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal by Lord Justice Lewison. A report on the case can be found on the Garden Court North website: Report on Canal & River Trust -v- Jones
The barrister for Mr Jones is James Stark of Garden Court North chambers.
Parminder Sanghera of the Travellers Advice Team has been shortlisted for the Housing Lawyer of the Year Award. Parminder was the instructing solicitor on the case of R(Moore & Coates) -v- Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the case which found that the policy of recovering Gypsy and Traveller planning appeals in the Green Belt was unlawful and discriminatory – see our report on the CLP website: Moore & Coates
For more details of the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards see: https://fionabawdon.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/shortlist1.pdf
The award ceremony takes place on July 1st.
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.
Everyone had been waiting with trepidation for the Government’s response to the Travellers and Planning Consultation. You can find examples of some of the wonderful consultation responses in our article “Re-Defining Travellers Out of Existence” on our website under: campaigns and consultations
After lobbying from Dr Angus Murdoch, a Planning Consultant who acts for Gypsies and Travellers, the Liberal Democrat MP, David Laws, studied all of the consultation responses and was very concerned about the points that were made in those responses. Accordingly the Liberal Democrats blocked the attempt of Mr Pickles, the Secretary of State for Justice, to bring in changes to planning policies including the proposed change to the definition of “Gypsy” for the purposes of planning. This is excellent news. Well done to Angus, David Laws, Lord Avebury (who facilitated this process) and all of those who put in consultation responses. A report on this appeared in the Daily Telegraph and, interestingly, on the same page there was a report about thousands more homes being planned for the Green Belt. You can read this at:- Daily Telegraph Report
Readers will recall that in the case of R(Moore & Coates) –v- Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Mr Justice Gilbart had quashed the decisions of the Secretary of State, Mr Pickles, to recover these Green Belt Gypsy and Traveller planning appeals. Gilbart J found the process of recovery to be discriminatory and unlawful.
The above quote is the conclusion of the cross party Parliamentary Justice Committee in their report Impact of Changes to Civil Legal Aid under Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders’ Act 2012 published on 12 March 2015.