Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

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. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2015/1051.html

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.

Borough Wide Injunctions

Over recent years there have been reports of local authorities obtaining wide injunctions against unauthorised encampments. The latest example was Waltham Forest LBC v Persons Unknown where Lang J granted the final injunction on 12 January 2018. As usual, the defendants were not represented. TAT believe this type of injunction is potentially very challengeable on grounds including reasonableness and proportionality. We would be very interested in hearing from anyone adversely affected by such an injunction or any application for an injunction.

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Public Law Defences to Possession Actions

Davies v Hertfordshire CC [2018] WLR(D) 1411, is not a Traveller case but is a useful reminder that, even where there is no security of tenure, a public law defence can be put forward to a possession action (in this case concerning Children Act 2004 section 11).

See the transcript at: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2018/379.html&query=(davies)+AND+(v)+AND+(hertfordshire)

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.