Court of appeal dismisses use of borough-wide injunctions targeting Gypsy and Traveller camps.

Traveller Blackshots

AN IMPORTANT Court of Appeal judgment has criticised the use of wide injunctions targeting Gypsy and Traveller camps.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Bromley Council’s appeal against a prior High Court decision to refuse its application for an injunction against “persons unknown” stopping on its land.

The injunctions in Harlow were for specific named individuals plus over 300 separate parcels of land. The judgement in court this week made reference to the Harlow cases and exhaustive evidence provided by Harlow Council, detailing why they wanted to apply such a ban.

Whether this law may affect future injunctions made by Harlow Council, we may have to wait and see.

Whether this law may affect future proposed injunctions made by Thurrock Council, we may have to wait and see.

Judges held that “borough wide injunctions are inherently problematic” and a potential breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Equality Act.

They emphasised existing legislation and case law “make plain that the gypsy and traveller community have an enshrined freedom not to stay in one place but to move from one place to another”.

In May, organisation London Gypsies and Travellers (LGT) won a test case against Bromley in the High Court, having challenged its injunction application to stop “persons unknown” camping on 171 open spaces and car parks.

LGT chief executive, Debby Kennett, said: “We are extremely pleased with this result and proud to have been involved in such an important case which advances protection of the nomadic way of life in the UK.

“The judgment sets a high standard for councils seeking injunctions and stresses the need to put in place adequate and safe provision.”

The case provides guidance for authorities seeking injunctions including that they should provide evidence showing what alternative housing or transit sites are available.

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