Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham


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:

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Consultation: Powers for Dealing with Unauthorised Development and Encampments



The Community Law Partnership (CLP) is an award winning, progressive firm of solicitors specialising in the law relating to Housing and Public Law. CLP incorporates the Travellers Advice Team (TAT) – a ground-breaking nationwide 24 hour advice service for Gypsies and Travellers. Ruston Planning is a planning consultancy that specialises in running planning appeals for Gypsies and Travellers.

The Law on Consultations and the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government Consultation on Powers regarding Unauthorised Development and Encampments

Marc Willers QC, Garden Court Chambers and Chris Johnson, Community Law Partnership

In this paper we consider whether the recent consultation paper on unauthorised encampments and developments issued by the Minister for Housing Communities and Local Government is susceptible to challenge by way of judicial review.

Samuels v Birmingham City Council – Supreme Court Grants Permission

In October 2015 the Court of Appeal dismissed Ms Samuels’ appeal against the decision of HHJ Worcester, dismissing her s204 homeless appeal against the decision of Birmingham City Council that she was intentionally homeless because she could have made up the shortfall between her rent and her Housing Benefit from her subsistence benefits, but failed to do so.

Homelessness in Birmingham – A Case Study

On Tuesday afternoon 29th March 2018, our Housing Team were all out of the office being trained re: the Homelessness Reduction Act, which was to come into force the following week, when the mayday call came in. A street homeless family in the waiting room at 3.30 pm. One of our partners hot foots it back to base. Mum and Dad, twins aged 3, and a 5 month old baby had been evicted from a Birmingham City Council (BCC) hostel the day before, without notice.

Defining Travellers out of Existence – An Analysis

Thanks to Tessa Buchanan of Garden Court Chambers for her comments on this paper.

In August 2015, the new Planning policy for traveller sites (PPTS) was published by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (SSCLG – as he then was[1]). This introduced a number of amendments to the Government guidance on planning issues relating to Gypsy and Traveller sites. Many of these changes were regarded as detrimental to the interests of such applicants, but perhaps the most controversial has been the amendment made to the definition of Gypsy/Traveller contained in Annex 1 of the PPTS. This definition governs who will, and who will not, be regarded as a Gypsy or Traveller for planning purposes and therefore who will, and who will not, be entitled to the more permissive regime of the PPTS. It is a question of immense importance both to local planning authorities and to individual applicants.

[1] Now the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).