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.

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.

Bach Commission

The long awaited final report of the Bach Commission was released just prior to the Labour Party Conference in September 2017. It is entitled ‘The Right to Justice’. The Bach Commission was set up by the Labour Party though has operated independently of the Labour Party.

Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2017

CLP were delighted (to say nothing of amazed) to be given the above award at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards on the evening of 5th July 2017. It was wonderful to hear about the marvellous work of so many dedicated legal aid workers around the UK. The awards are organised by the (equally wonderful) Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG).

LAPG said of CLP:

“CLP is a legal aid firm to its core. It specialises in housing law for those facing possession, the homeless and Gypsies and Travellers, including cutting edge work in the higher courts. A client who collapsed when trying to represent herself says: ‘I went from wanting to die to wanting to live – that’s how much their help meant’.

 Anna Jones, the compere for the evening, referred to “their legendary commitment to Gypsies and Travellers”.

Thank you to all those who sent in submissions in our support especially some of our clients and to James Stark of Garden Court North Chambers for nominating us. Well done to all the winners and all those shortlisted. We were very honoured to be in such exalted company.