Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham


Business As Usual

Despite the Coronavirus lockdown, we are continuing with business as usual at CLP. Though we are not carrying out any office appointments, we are arranging telephone appointments with both existing and new clients. Please telephone our switchboard on 0121 685 8595. Please note that, during this emergency period, the switchboard will have slightly reduced hours and will be open between 9am and 5pm.

Article 8 challenge : Canal and River Trust -v- Jones

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 Shortlisted for Award

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:
The award ceremony takes place on July 1st.

The Ministry of Injustice?

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.

Power To The People

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

Town-Wide Injunction

Harlow Council in combination with Essex County Council have obtained an injunction against Gypsies and Travellers covering 454 parcels of land:

Though TAT were contacted by two of the Defendants prior to the Order being made, unfortunately they were not eligible for legal aid and did not instruct us further.  TAT feel that such injunctions are highly challengeable and would be very interested in hearing from anyone affected by this injunction or any other such injunction.  Please telephone us on our Advice Line on 0121 685 8677.

Use Your Vote

After the last disastrous 5 years of the Coalition Government which has seen vast areas of law taken out of scope for Legal Aid, restrictions on the ability of Legal Aid firms to take judicial review actions and a 10% across the board cut in Civil Legal Aid fees, it is vital that supporters of Legal Aid and Access to Justice use their vote in the upcoming General Election.