News Shorts And Other Busyness
First CJA Squatting Case Collapses
Squall 11, Autumn 1995, pg. 8.
The first court conviction for breaking the new law on assemblies of more than 20 people, were made in Salisbury Magistrates Court in early October.
The new Interim Possession Order forms were used by Bristol Churches Housing Association against four squatters in the Montpellier region of Bristol. Bristol Churches Housing Association have a large amount of empty property in the area but for some reason decided to become the first known users of the new law.
The squatters had attracted large amounts of support, with local shops putting up posters on their behalf and over 100 protesters turning up at Bristol County Court.
The judge turned down Bristol Churches Housing Association’s application of the basis that they had failed to adequately prove their case. The squatters were represented by Brian Cox of Bobbetts McCann in Bristol with the help of Jim Paton from Advisory Service for Squatters, who travelled down to Bristol to lend ASS’s expertise. The liaisons between the squatters and legal assistance was facilitated by Bristol Housing Action Movement (BHAM).
Brian Cox is now seeking a judicial review of Bristol Churches Housing Association’s grounds for seeking possession against the occupiers, on the unusual legal basis of the Association having too many empty properties. Brian Cox is a judicial review expert and it will be interesting to see whether he can establish such a legal basis for resisting possession orders.