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

Read the full post

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

Money can’t buy you everything

Sun Street Properties Ltd v Persons Unknown [2011] EWHC (Ch), [2011] All ER (D) 72 (Dec) [no transcript available yet]

Or, what the hell is going on about Occupy/Bank of Ideas and the property owned by Union Bank of Switzerland. As you probably noticed, on 18 November 2011, an empty property in the City was occupied by a group connected with the OccupyLSX camp outside St Paul’s. The property was ultimately owned by the UBS, the ones who allegedly just lost some $2.3 billion through a rogue trader.

At the time, I predicted that UBS (or rather their subsidiary, Sun Street Properties Ltd) would go for an interim possession order … Read the full post

Forgive us our trespasses…

The Prime Minister’s confirmation that the government will be bringing forward legislation for the criminalisation of trespass and the proposed removal of legal aid from trespassers in the Legal AId, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill amount to the most significant changes to the law of trespass in England and Wales for generations.

The media response, carefully directed by spin, has been to focus on squatting and, all too predictably, on ‘protecting homeowners’ from squatters. That this response is wholly and perhaps wilfully inaccurate about the current law is something we’ve addressed before. Of course, squatting is threatened by the proposals, but the ramifications run deeper and wider.

The … Read the full post

Not going quietly…

Or round 3 of Ms Pritchard’s refusal to give up her former property to the ‘We buy your right to buy home’ firm that had obtained possession.

Fineland Investments Limited v Pritchard (2011) Ch D 17/05/2011 [Note on Lawtel, unreported elsewhere]

Readers may recall the possession judgment, and the multi stranded (and multi partied) appeal of the without notice warrant of eviction, in both of which Ms P was unsuccessful. After having been evicted and failed in her application for re-entry, it appears that Ms P was not going to accept that as a conclusion. She, her son and two others had allegedly gained access to the property … Read the full post

Eviction without notice or permission

Pritchard & Ors v Teitelbaum & Ors [2011] EWHC 1063 (Ch)

This case forms part of the aftermath of Fineland Investments Ltd v Janice Vivien Pritchard [2011] EWHC 113 (Ch) (our report here). It appears that Ms Pritchard was not going to take either the possession order granted in that case, or indeed her subsequent eviction, lying down. But she was not going to take the usual route of appeal or timely set aside application either. There may well be more on Ms Pritchard’s cases at a later date, but the significant issue in this hearing concerned the warrants of eviction obtained without application for permission of the … Read the full post