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Do not pass Go


Cambridge City Council v Joyce

No link for this one, but it was noted on Lawtel this morning and has been reported as [2009] All ER (D) 234 (Feb).  Mr Joyce was a secure tenant of one of Cambridge’s properties.  His tenancy contained conditions not to harass anyone or to do anything on or around the property which would annoy others.  He became subject to a restraining order not to contact or take photos of his neighbours.  Presumably this didn’t have the desired effect as an injunction was taken against him to prevent him committing an annoyance or using surveillance equipment on his road, or from using violence or intimidating behaviour, and finally not to enter some of the Council’s buildings.  That can’t have worked either as Cambridge subsequently began possession proceedings against Mr Joyce, claiming that he had breached the injunction 23 times.  Mr Joyce does not appear to have attended at Cambridge County Court when HHJ O’Brien found that eleven of the breaches were proved on the balance of probabilities and three of them were proved beyond reasonable doubt (it’s not clear to me if this is three of the eleven or if there were 14 proved in total, but absolutely nothing turns on it).  The Judge considered medical evidence (Mr Joyce is in a wheelchair) and the lack of remorse on his part.  He relied on the three breaches proved beyond reasonable doubt in ordering possession to be given up within 28 days and imposing a sentence of 21 days’ imprisonment, suspended on two conditions*:

  1. Possession given up within the 28 days, and
  2. No more breaches of the injunction to be committed.

Mr Joyce appealed against the committal order.  He appeared in person and argued that Cambridge had engineered with his neighbours to get the eviction order and he had been prevented from disclosing documents proving that Cambridge had a vendetta against him.

The Court of Appeal (Arden, Richards and Rimer LJJ) dismissed his appeal.  Not clear who delivered the judgment but the Court held that the Judge had not taken any irrelevant factors into account, the sentence was limited and the two conditions would have to be complied with in any event.

* So not quite the case of “Go to Jail.  Go directly to Jail” that the post title implied, but I couldn’t think of anything else.

chief is a barrister in the big city. he specialises in public law, landlord & tenant, football and rock 'n' roll (the last two are only when his clerks aren't watching). he sometimes pops by here, but not as often as he'd like. he will occasionally eschew capital letters. the reasons for this odd affectation are lost in the mists of time.


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