Of Superglue and Residence

A prosecution under s.144 LASPO that came unstuck*

R v D Duputell 31 October 2013 Hove Trial Centre [Newspaper report]

This was the retrial of Mr Duputell after his earlier trial on charges of breach of s.144 LASPO together with two other co-defendants resulted in the cases against them being thrown out.

Mr D had been arrested in what I understand to be a former (empty) pub in Hove. The prosecution was brought on the basis of s.144, (1) of which provides:

(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)the person is in a residential building as a trespasser having entered it as a trespasser,
(b)the person knows or

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Malik v Fassenfelt & Ors [2013] EWCA Civ 798

The idea that an Englishman’s home is his castle is firmly embedded in English folklore and it finds its counterpart in the common law of the realm which provides a remedy to enable the owner of the castle to secure the eviction of trespassers from it. But what if the invaders occupy for long enough to establish their home within the keep? Whose castle is it now? Whose home must the law now protect? [Sir Alan Ward]

This was a case that was potentially important for establishing whether Article 8 defences could be run by private tenants, or by licencees and … Read the full post

Phoenix from the flames

There was an interesting case-note on Lawtel this week which I suspect most of you saw. The case was LB Enfield v Phoenix and others, High Ct, March 19, 2013, and seemed to concern the circumstances in which a possession claim can properly be issued in the High Court. I have been provided with a note of judgment and so can give you a bit more detail.

Imagine, if you will, that a large number of the good people of North London are, to put it mildly, somewhat dissatisfied with the Tory/Lib Dem cuts to public expenditure (a view, I should add, which is plainly shared by all right-thinkingRead the full post

Haigh, Squatting is Now Illegal

The Evening Standard is reporting the sentencing of the first person under the new anti-squatting provisions in the LASPO Act.

Alex Haigh received 12 weeks in prison. Unfortunately Mr Haigh appeared to be unaware that squatting was now an offence and admitted to Police that he was a squatter.

I am not going to repeat the various comments we have made about this legislation and its implementation. The most recent post on the topic is here.

I am also not going to comment on the Standard article except to highlight this phrase from the article:

The law was brought in amid a squatting crisis in London as organised eastern

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Squatting: The MoJ Guide

We have had a lot to say about squatting. In fact those of you who are quick may even be able to see one of the authors of the blog on television talking about it today!
With the new legislation criminalising squatting due to come into force at the weekend (presumably to catch out those sunday morning squatters!) the Ministry of Justice has issued a circular to Judges, Courts, and the Police.
The circular starts with a statement that the new legislation will “protect owners .. of any type of residential building.” This of course ignores he point that they were already protected.
The circular makes clear that the new … Read the full post

The cost of criminalising trespass

The Government’s proposal to criminalise trespass to residential property, contained in LASPO at clause 136, is due to be considered at report stage in the House of Lords tomorrow (Tuesday 20 March). The Government’s estimate of additional costs arising from the proposal is £25 million over 5 years.

SQUASH have obtained a report on the likely costs of the proposal, highlighting the shortcomings of the MoJ’s costings. The research takes into account knock on costs to other Departments and to Local Authorities. It outlines a range of scenarios that may result from the criminalisation and estimates the likely costs at between £316 million and £790 million.

The Guardian has further Read the full post

Forward to the 18th Century!

Monstrous Craws at a new Coalition Feast
The Coalition’s proposed legislation this week has a marvellously retro feel to it. Sniff the air. Through the whiff of horse dung and open sewers, you can tell we are back in the days of Queen Anne and not solely because the lawfulness of the catholicity of a Monarch’s spouse was an issue deemed worth revisiting.

The Observer noted that a debate in the Lords on the Welfare Reform Bill gave rise to the prospect of the return of the window tax.  The glorious proposals to cut the benefits of under-occupiers, so that they have to find a less commodious garrett, gives rise to the question of what constitutes … Read the full post

Pass me down the wine

The number of letters published in The Guardian on the topic of the law on squatting has now reached two and can therefore be fairly described as an “exchange”.

We have already noted Mike Weatherley MP’s letter to The Guardian and I urge you all to read that post. It is a sensitive, sensible, passionate and highly informed piece of writing. What follows is almost certainly not. It should only be considered for a bit of weekend light relief, probably with a glass, or more, of wine to hand – it was certainly written that way.

With that caveat, our starting point has to be the letter published at … Read the full post