UK High Court Rules Gypsies/Travellers Have ‘Enshrined Freedom’ to Move From Place to Place

The Court of Appeal today, Tuesday 21st January 2020, ruled that Gypsies and Travellers have an “enshrined freedom” to move from one place to another and that an injunction to prevent camping on public land would breach the rights of the communities it targeted. Bromley Council sought the injunction, which was rejected by the High Court in May 2019, after an intervention by community group London Gypsies and Travellers.

The Court of Appeal upheld that decision and highlighted that while numerous injunctions have been granted in recent years, this was the first time one has been challenged in proceedings that included representatives of the Gypsy and Traveller community. Fourteen councils in and around London have already obtained injunctions, breach of which may be punished with fines, imprisonment or the seizure of property of Gypsies and Travellers if they camp on public land.

Debby Kennett, CEO of London Gypsies and Travellers, said: “We are extremely pleased with this result and proud to have been involved in such an important case which advances the recognition and 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. We are keen to work with councils to explore alternatives to evictions and injunctions, such as negotiated stopping.”

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