Legal action commences as deadline for submissions to unauthorised camps consultation looms
Lawyers have commenced legal action agaisnt the government’s controversial unauthorised Traveller camps and developments review – but are still urging Gypsy and Traveller campaigners to submit to the review by the deadline on Friday 15th June.
Community Law Partnership has written a ‘pre-action letter’ to the Government Legal Department on behalf of a Traveller challenging the consultation itself.
They claim that the consultation is “flawed” because although the government conducted an equalities impact assessment of the consultation – this was not then published with the consultation for the benefit of people wanting to submit comments.
In an email from the law firm to campaigners – seen by the Travellers’ Times – the lawyers say that they have received a “negative response” from the government to their ‘pre-legal action letter’ and are now applying for legal aid on behalf of their client.
“If legal aid is obtained and a challenge now lodged, we may look for a stay on the consultation process - but that is very unlikely to affect the 15th June deadline, so do keep going with your submissions,” say the lawyers.
They add that submissions could help put pressure on the government by complaining that an equalities assessment was not available for them to see.
The lawyers also say that the review is “fatally flawed” and “susceptible to challenge by way of judicial review” because of its misleading statements, its failure to identify reasonable alternative options and because it fails to comply with public sector equality laws.
The Government say that they are holding the review – alongside a consultation – because unauthorised sites can cause “significant distress for both the settled and nomadic communities”.
They add that this has been increasingly raised in Parliament over recent months and that they are now going to review the powers for councils, other land-owners and the police to deal with the approximately 3,700 caravans that are on unauthorised sites – which includes roadside camps and Gypsies and Travellers living on their own land but without planning permission.
Read all about it! Related TT stories on the government review:
By TT News