Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham


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).

The Unlawful Use of Public Spaces Protection Orders

by Chris Johnson, Marc Willers QC and David Watkinson

What are Public Spaces Protection Orders? 

A public spaces protection order (PSPO) is an order issued by a local authority which is designed to tackle activities carried on in a public place which have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in its locality and which prohibits specified things being done in a restricted area or requires specified things to be done by persons carrying on specified activities in that area, or does both of those things.