Thursday, 15 September 2011

NO MAD LAWS – PETITION « GypsyMessageBoard - please pass this on - this is about injustice


June 24th, 2011 § 35 Comments



The Legal Aid Bill1 was published on the 21st June 2011.

If brought into force as it stands now this Bill will have disastrous effects on the provision of advice and representation to Gypsies and Travellers on accommodation issues (to say nothing of the disastrous effects on many other areas of the law such as welfare rights, debt and education to name but a few).

Clause 8 of the Bill states that civil legal services will only be available in those areas detailed in Schedule 1 Part 1 of the Bill.

Clause 26 provides that the Lord Chancellor may provide services by means of telephone advice. On the same date as the publication of the Bill the response to the consultation on Legal Aid has been published2. There had been a proposal that telephone advice should be the “mandatory single gateway” to Legal Aid assistance (which would mean that only those providers who had telephone advice contracts would be able to deal with that initial stage). At para 146 of the consultation response the Government has stated that,initially, they will confine this proposal to four areas of law: debt; special educational needs; discrimination cases; and community care. At paragraph 153 they confirm that the Community Legal Advice Helpline will continue in the following areas: debt; special educational needs; discrimination; community care; family; housing.3

Schedule 1 Part 1 of the Bill contains those services which remain in the scope of Legal Aid (by this is meant all forms of advice, assistance and representation). At paragraph 17(1) “Judicial Review” is kept within scope. However paragraph 17(2) makes 17(1) subject to the exclusions in Schedule 1 Part 2. Part 2 paragraph 5 excludes ‘trespass to land’.

At paragraph 27 onwards “loss of home” is kept within scope but the following should be noted:-

(8) In this paragraph “home”, in relation to an individual, means the house, caravan, houseboat or other vehicle or structure that is the individual’s only or main residence, subject to sub-paragraph (9);

(9) References in this paragraph to an individual’s home do not include a vehicle or structure occupied by the individual if there are no grounds on which it can be argued –
(a) that the individual is occupying the vehicle or structure otherwise than as a trespasser, and that the individual’s occupation of the vehicle or structure began otherwise than as a trespasser

(10) In sub-paragraphs (8) and (9), the references to a caravan, houseboat or other vehicle include the land on which it is located or to which it is moored.

Excluded services are listed at Schedule 1 Part 2. Gypsy and Traveller planning work (in other words High Court planning appeals, planning injunction actions, challenges to Stop Notices and direct action etc) are not mentioned but (subject to what I say later) must be taken to be excluded by not being included in Schedule 1 Part 1.

In its consultation response the Government accepts that the majority of the over 5,000 responses they received were against the reforms. Nevertheless they are willing to fly in the face of those responses. For example at paragraph 41 of the consultation response they state:-

Over 90% of Respondents to the consultation disagreed with the proposals to remove from the scope of Legal Aid those cases and proceedings set out in the consultation.

At paragraph 234 of the consultation response the Government conclude that they will proceed with a 10% reduction to all fees paid under the Civil and Family Legal Aid Schemes. At Annex B paragraph 74, the Government relate the key issues raised in the consultation on Housing cases (which incorporates Gypsy and Traveller accommodation cases). They state that one of the key points raised by Respondents was:-

Funding should be provided for planning appeals and eviction cases involving Gypsies and Travellers because this group was one of the most vulnerable in society.

However, in their response to the consultation from paragraph 75, they fail to actually respond to that point.

Cathay Birch of Gypsy Message Board has set up a petition to the Government.
NO MAD LAWSWe the undersigned call upon the Government to ensure that Legal Aid in the Legal Aid Bill 2011 is available for Gypsies and Travellers to defend evictions from unauthorised encampments and to be advised and represented in High Court planning matters. It is due to the failures of successive central and local Governments to ensure adequate site provision that some 25% of the Gypsy and Traveller population who live in caravans are on unauthorised encampments and unauthorised developments. This is through no fault of their own. Gypsies and Travellers are one of the most disadvantaged groups in the United Kingdom and the Government must ensure that they have access to legal advice and assistance just as any other group does.


§ 35 Responses to NO MAD LAWS – PETITION

  • Laurence Fuller says:

    I support you wholeheartedly on this petition Cathay Birch.

    Laurence, (Laurie-1)

  • Kristine says:

    Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose………..
    just another law designed and engineered to squeeze the life outta somebody! they won’t be happy until but cheer up for then they will be kings of nutt’n!

  • Gypsy Cuncil says:

    Justice, and freedom comes at no price. Why should those who cannot afford to have both, Pay though the nose or have neither. Why, should the not so well off, suffer the misfortunes of having less and being punished for being poor. AT WHAT PRICE ?

  • Lizzy says:

    I support you as well Cathay.

  • charlie loveridge says:

    were with you too cathy

  • Lynne Tammi says:

    Support this all the way.

  • cheryl harris says:

    you have my full support on this

  • supported, cathay and legal by me

  • karen says:

    my suport on this cathy

  • Its sad that its even being discussed.

  • paula bell says:

    im with you ..xxxx

  • Teresa says:

    You have my support

  • brenda keough-evans says:

    Supported .

  • martha mcphee says:

    support all the way

  • Richard says:

    support you wholeheartedly on this petition as well xx

    Richard James Dodds

  • Helge Valama says:

    I support ewrything, you are doing, for our brothers and sisters, in this cruel world!
    Helge Valama roma Finland!

  • Angela Martin says:

    I Support this 100%

  • Peter Black says:

    I support this petition

  • British says:

    you have my full support on this

  • donna says:

    gypsy”s should be treated like the rest ant nice at all for them to be pushed out a home is a home let them live

  • Pauline says:

    Live and Let Live Please. We are Human Beings who have feelings just like anybody else. Please let us live in Gods peace with you. Thank you. X

  • Vili Rupa says:

    Am fost batut de politist de mi s-au rupt dintii din gura,am fost legat in lanturi si la maini si la picioare si o bara de fier legata de lanturi,timp de 81 de zile,colegi de celula ma stergeau la fund,cand mergeam la wc,nu am avut voie sa ma spal pe corpul meu,eram plin de pureci si bube, mi sa rupt piciorul ,femurul ,am tija in picior din cauza lanturilor purtate pe picioare si maini ,pentru ca era rece bara de fier ,am demonstrat asta la CEDO,si acum cand am depus reclamatie impotriva lor mi sa respins ,pe motiv ca s-au prescris faptele,si nu are ce sa le faca a spus judecatoarea,eu am depus cerere la CEDO in termenul legal,guvernul a fost instintat,trebuia sa suspende prescrierea pana la decizia CEDO,dar vad ca nu se tine cont nici de hotararea de la CEDO,am depus reclamatii impotriva lor si sa dat NUP,si m-au amenintat ca ma impusca.Ce sa mai fac?

  • Roger Penney says:

    Travelling people have as much right to protection under the law as do any other group in society whether the majority Anglo-Saxon-Celtic people or other ethnic minorities. The government’s responisbility is to p[rotect its subjects and not to marginalise them.
    Once negative discrimination starts, and it has been going on for a long time with regard to the Gypsy/Traveller minority group, then we are in danger of going down the road to Fascism.

  • Fiona says:

    I support you Cathay 100%

  • ellie midhani says:

    Behind this fully, great work.

  • john says:

    I spent some time in prison a while ago and had more freedom and rights inside than in the so called “Free World”. More oppression at the expence of minority groups by narrow minority minded people who are afraid of what they don’t understand.

  • Tracy nedic says:

    God bless you cathy you have my full support and the support of travellers got talent 2011 and every other year love and blessings Tracy xx ps also my group lgclgroupx

  • christine brazil says:

    you have my suport love and light

  • leave the travellers alone, unless they do wrong then what harm are they doin to people who persecute them just for there way of life.

  • Sharonrose Loveridge Bate says:

    Diversity and cultural differences can only be good for any civilised country. Why are people so scared of those who stand up to be different. It is so sad that travellers can no longer travel around and find sites to travel to nor be accepted as settled on a site ..where are these people to go ….why are there not more possibilities in the 21st century for alternative ways of being ..why do we have to conform …open your minds and your hearts …there are other ways of being …..

  • Sheila Amies-Byron says:

    I have so much sympathy and empathy for the travellers. I live in a mobile home, owned by us but with an unscrupulous site owner who would do anything to make money out of the residents, no matter what age. He is a totally vile man.

  • Tamara Demetro says:

    Millions of Rromani and non Rromani people are in a movement towards equality, human rights for all Rromani world wide. We raise our voice to have our true and documented story shared with the world, for the first time in world history. This will be done fairly and those still believing that no one will care or that the world will not rise in our defense , that those good people are not in the majority; think again…please. Please stop the madness, what side of history do you wish to be on?

  • ant cunn says:

    travellers ,,,,,we should let them be,,,,