Justitia Goddess

Traveller injunctions ruling may be taken to Supreme Court

Friends, Families and Travellers have submitted an application to the Supreme Court with London Gypsies & Travellers and the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group to overturn a Court of Appeal ruling on wide injunctions.

In January, a Court of Appeal judgment concluded that previous rulings misunderstood the case law relating to ‘Persons Unknown’ injunctions, and that such orders can indeed apply to ‘newcomers’.

The Court of Appeal ruling stated that courts can grant final injunctions which prevent persons, ‘who are unknown and unidentified at the date of the order, from occupying and trespassing on land’.

In the original High Court case, all existing injunctions were brought together for an in-depth scrutiny by Mr Justice Nicklin, with many of the Orders being discharged in the process.

Following the case, Mr Justice Nicklin ordered that wide injunctions can only be granted against those who can be named or properly identified by the time of the final hearing, and ruled that wide injunctions cannot apply to anyone who was not a party at the time of the final Court hearing and is, therefore, a ‘newcomer’.

The ruling meant that any Gypsies or Travellers who arrived on the land at a later date would not be covered by the injunction. However, 12 local authorities successfully appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal.

Our legal team at Community Law Partnership and Garden Court Chambers have now made an application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, and are waiting for confirmation on whether the case can go ahead. .

The large areas covered by wide injunctions disproportionately impact on nomadic Gypsies and Travellers, and contribute to the long-standing shortage of sites and stopping places.

Speaking about the decision to seek to take the case to the Supreme Court, Abbie Kirkby, Policy & Public Affairs Manager at Friends, Families and Travellers said:

These injunctions demonstrate the complete failure of local authorities to identify suitable land on which Gypsies and Travellers can stop. Without offering alternative stopping places, local authorities instead opt for the lazy and punitive approach of effectively banning entire families and individuals from their areas for living nomadically.

It is harrowing that Gypsy and Traveller communities in 21st Century Britain are faced with local authority blanket bans and a Policing Bill that criminalises families rather than working to support the supply of homes.

Everyone deserves somewhere to call home, where they are able to live with dignity, respect and without fear of reprisal.”

Debby Kennett, Chief Executive at London Gypsies & Travellers said:

“We continue to believe that these wide injunctions are discriminatory and will continue to support legal moves to oppose them.”

On the Supreme Court application, Chris Johnson, Partner at Community Law Partnership had this to say:

”The first written record of Gypsies in Britain dates from 1502. Since then, despite punitive laws, Gypsies and Travellers have managed to maintain their nomadic habit of life. In modern times, with the closure of the commons, it has become increasingly difficult due to the failure of central government and local authorities to ensure that there are sufficient stopping places. Nevertheless, Gypsies and Travellers have continued to maintain their nomadic way of life.

However, if every local authority got a wide injunction order covering all or most of the potential stopping places in their area, where will Gypsies and Travellers go? Into the sea?” 


Notes for Editor

About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)

Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works to end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and to protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life.

Media Contact

Sami McLaren, Senior Communications & Campaigns Officer

Tel: 07436 228910 Email: [email protected]

Relevant Resources

‘London Borough of Barking and Dagenham & Anor v Persons Unknown & Ors [2022] EWCA Civ 13’. Court of Appeal. January 2022. View here.

‘New ruling marks an end to wide anti-Traveller injunctions’. Friends, Families and Travellers. May 2021. View here.

‘Councils in High Court over anti-Traveller injunctions’. Friends, Families and Travellers. January 2021. View here.

‘Number of councils seeking Anti-Traveller injunctions drops from 38 to 16 as court case begins’. Friends, Families and Travellers. December 2020. View here.

‘New research shows huge unmet need for pitches on Traveller sites in England’. Friends, Families and Travellers. January 2021. View here.

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