Today, Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) along with London Gypsies and Travellers (LGT) and Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group (DGLG) have been granted permission by the Supreme Court to continue the challenge against the use of anti-Traveller ‘wide injunctions’.
A Court of Appeal judgment in March 2022 stated that previous rulings misunderstood the case law relating to ‘Persons Unknown’ injunctions, and that such orders can indeed apply to ‘newcomers’ (those not involved in the original court case and who turn up on one of the parcels of land covered by the injunction).
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, the Court of Appeal overturned this decision.
Having previously acted as ‘Interveners’ at the High Court and Court of Appeal, FFT, LGT and DGLG will now be represented as ‘Appellants’ at the Supreme Court by Chris Johnson of Community Law Partnership (CLP), Marc Willers KC, Tessa Buchanan and Owen Greenhall of Garden Court Chambers, and Richard Drabble KC of Landmark Chambers.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court also ordered that there should be no costs award either for or against the appellants.
Since 2015, a large number of local authorities have used wide injunctions, which disproportionately impact on nomadic Gypsies and Travellers and contribute to the long-standing shortage of sites and stopping places.
Speaking about tackling wide injunctions at the Supreme Court, Marc Willers KC of Garden Court Chambers said:
We are delighted that permission and a protective costs award have been granted by the Supreme Court in this matter.
This is an extremely important challenge not only for Gypsies and Travellers who have to resort to staying on encampments through no fault of their own but also to others who are adversely affected by such wide Injunctions, such as environmental protesters.”
Abbie Kirkby, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Friends, Families and Travellers said this about the discriminatory nature of the wide injunctions:
“We are determined to continue challenging the discriminatory and disproportionate use of these injunctions.
If local authorities do not identify suitable stopping places for nomadic communities, then they must not be allowed to use punitive measures to cover up their failings.
There are common sense solutions to addressing the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers, that work with families, not against them.”[END]
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.
Sami McLaren, Communications and Campaigns Lead
Tel: 07436 228910 Email: [email protected]
‘The application for permission to appeal’. Community Law Partnership. January 2022. View here.
‘The ancillary procedural applications including the application for alternative service’. Community Law Partnership. February 2022. View here.
‘The decision to grant permission’. Community Law Partnership. October 2022. View here.
‘Traveller injunctions ruling may be taken to Supreme Court’. Friends, Families and Travellers. March 2022. View here.
‘London Borough of Barking and Dagenham & Anor v Persons Unknown & Ors  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.