Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

News

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.

URGENT PRESS RELEASE – Injunctions criticised in landmark ruling

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.

The Heart and Soul of the Nomad Nation

By Chris Johnson, Travellers Advice Team at Community Law Partnership and Marc Willers QC, Garden Court Chambers

Introduction

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 ).

Stop Racist Injunctions

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.

Legal Aid Problems

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

London Borough of Bromley v Persons Unknown and London Gypsies & Travellers – [2019] 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.

Moorings Consultation

Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne Councils have carried out a consultation (ended 31 July 2019) about boat dwellers who do not have a licence or who overstay time on temporary moorings. One of the proposals is to bring into force a Public Spaces Protection Order banning such boat dwellers from the area of the boroughs. You can find the consultation details here: http://mygov.elmbridge.gov.uk/documents/s24122/Unauthorised%20moorings.pdf   For CLP’s response to this consultation – click read more.

Rent Arrears and Anti-Social Behaviour

What happens when a landlord wants to evict a tenant for anti-social behaviour (ASB) having already obtained an order for possession on the ground of rent arrears?

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.