LGT and other organisations representing Gypsies and Travellers have been granted permission by the Supreme Court to continue their legal challenge against the use of “wide injunctions” against “persons unknown”, preventing Gypsies and Travellers from stopping on public land.
“This is hugely welcome news,” said Debby Kennett, LGT’s Chief Executive. “We will again be supporting the legal case that wide injunctions are discriminatory, now in the Supreme Court. We continue to campaign for the rights of nomadic communities and push for positive alternatives to evictions and injunctions.”
The move follows a Court of Appeal judgement in January 2022 stating that courts could indeed grant final injunctions to prevent persons “who are unknown and unidentified at the date of the order, from occupying and trespassing on land”. This in turn overturned a previous ruling by Mr Justice Nicklin saying that injunctions could only be granted against those who could be named or properly identified at the time of the final hearing.
Having previously acted as “interveners” at the High Court and Court of Appeal, LGT along with Friends, Families and Travellers and Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, 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.
The Supreme Court has ordered that there should be no costs award for or against the appellants.
Since 2015, a large number of local authorities have obtained borough-wide injunctions, prohibiting “persons unknown” from stopping on large swathes of land within their boundaries. The injunctions have a disproportionate effect on nomadic Gypsies and Travellers, especially given the long-standing shortage of lawful sites and stopping places.
Speaking about tackling wide injunctions at the Supreme Court, Marc Willers said: “We are delighted that permission and a protective costs award have been granted by the Supreme Court.”
“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 for others who are adversely affected by such wide injunctions, such as environmental protesters.”
As ordered by the Supreme Court, you will find the attachments below: