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.
By Chris Johnson, Travellers Advice Team at Community Law Partnership and Marc Willers QC, Garden Court Chambers
On 5 November 2019 the Home Office announced a consultation Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments
(https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/844954/Unauthorised_Encampments_-_consultation_paper.pdf). This consultation follows an earlier consultation issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in April 2018 on the effectiveness of enforcement against unauthorised developments and encampments (see the MHCLG report in February 2019 following the consultation: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/776942/Unauthorised_development_and_encampments_response.pdf ).
As many readers will know London Borough of Bromley have appealed to the Court of Appeal against the refusal of the High Court to grant them a wide injunction against Gypsies and Travellers covering 171 parcels of land. The appeal is to be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on December 3rd and 4th. London Gypsies and Travellers (LGT) are continuing with their intervention in this case and have now set up a Crowd Justice page to raise funds for their challenge to this appeal.
PM is a previous Client of ours and is an Irish Traveller. He lives in his caravan with his partner and recently his 3 year old son has come to live with him. PM has been in the area of a particular Welsh local authority (LA) since 2012 and, since that time, he has had to resort to unauthorised encampments since he does not have an authorised pitch in the area. However he has been pressing the LA to provide him with an authorised pitch but they have, to date, failed to do so. Since 2017 PM has instructed us to assist him and we have been taking up the case on his behalf. In July 2019, out of desperation, he moved onto an empty pitch on a site that LA are building for Travellers in their area. At this date LA have only obtained funding to construct three pitches and these three pitches have now been constructed. PM has moved onto one of these pitches. At this date, no further funding is available for further pitches though, ultimately, the LA intends to construct 32 pitches at this site. The LA’s Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment estimates that they need 32 pitches for Travellers in their area (hence the number of pitches they intend to construct).
London Borough of Bromley v Persons Unknown and London Gypsies & Travellers –  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.
Source – The Guardian (December 2018)
To celebrate 70 years since the introduction of legal aid in Britain, Justice Alliance have published Legal Aid Matters which contains short pieces on 70 of the most important cases funded by legal aid.
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The landlord will usually ask the court to consider whether or not to suspend the warrant in light of the allegations of ASB, even if the court would be prepared to suspend the warrant in light of the rent arrears.
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