Readers with a long memory (relative to the general standards of the 21st century) will recall that there was a finding in Connors v UK (2004) that the law that meant that travellers on Local Authority sites could be evicted without the court overseeing procedural safeguards was declared to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Such readers will no doubt also recall that the reason Mr Doherty in Doherty v Birmingham CC (July 2008) was refused a declaration of incompatibility (gateway A) by the House of Lords was solely because the objectionable legislation was to be replaced through the Housing and Regeneration bill, as it then was. And lo, the Housing And Regeneration Act 2008 was passed, and there was a great waiting for a statutory instrument to bring local authority sites under the provisions of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 as s.318 Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 allowed.
We have now been informed that a simple statutory instrument apparently can’t be found parliamentary time before the election, which is to be in May or June 2010 at the latest. And so, and here I quote a DCLG person, “The work that has been done [on implementing s.318 HRA 2008] will be put aside pending decisions by ministers following the election, whenever that takes place”.
So, the UK remains in breach, as found in Connors v UK, and it looks like their Lordships in Doherty were perhaps a little too trusting in the timescale for implementation of the HRA. Meanwhile, travellers in local authority sites remain without any procedural safeguards on possession actions. One can be fairly sure that implementing s.318 will not be too high on the agenda of our new, or indeed our second (fourth?) hand, overlords after the election. Echoes of Morris?