Thursday, October 13, 2011


Dale Farm Travellers lose eviction battle in high court

Judge rules Basildon council has right to clear land and says residents took too long to challenge decision to take direct action
Dale Farm supporter outside the high court in London.
12/10/2011 -

Residents of the Dale Farm Travellers' site in Essex lost their long-running legal battle against Basildon council when the high court ruled that their eviction from the plot could go ahead.
But the Travellers, who have been locked in a dispute over the former scrapyard with Basildon council for more than a decade, immediately said they would appeal. If they are granted permission to appeal, the planned eviction may be delayed.

Residents had asked the judge to stop the eviction under the European convention of human rights, in three judicial reviews; the court dismissed their applications, and said the council's decision of 17 May to evict was lawful.

After 10 years of legal battles the judge said it was "astonishing" that residents had delayed making their legal bid to almost the day of eviction.

Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, ruled that the Travellers delayed too long in challenging Basildon's decision to take direct action against them, and said the council's actions were not disproportionate.

"The conclusion has been reached time and again that this is just the wrong site for Travellers," he said.

Lawyers for the Travellers argued that the council had failed to offer suitable alternative accommodation and to consider those vulnerable residents and children whose education would be disrupted by the eviction. But the judge said the planning system had always included a fair consideration of personal circumstances and that the residents must now leave voluntarily. If distress and upset were caused by forcible eviction "it would be because of decisions made by the residents not to comply", he said.

The Dale Farm inhabitants were breaking criminal law each day they stayed on site; their removal was needed to stop "the criminal law and planning system being brought into serious disrepute," he added.
The eviction would cause "considerable distress and disruption" but must go ahead "In my judgment the time has manifestly come for steps to enforce the law to be taken."

Candy Sheridan, vice-chair of the Gypsy Council, said: "We are disappointed. We are not surprised, but the fight goes on. We will be seeking permission to appeal."

The council will not restart the eviction before Monday, giving the Travellers a small window of opportunity to launch their appeal. The court of appeal previously ruled against the Travellers on a human rights application in 2009. Dale Farm residents obtained an emergency injunction on 19 September after a different high court judge decided that there were grounds to believe the council might "go further" in clearing the site than its eviction notices allowed.

Three further judicial reviews were lodged after a high court judge ruled on 3 October that the council could remove caravans from 49 of 54 plots and most of the concrete pitches, but that walls, fences and gates could not be removed, despite the council's repeated assertions that the site had to be cleared.
Speaking outside the court, Tony Ball, leader of Basildon council, who struggled to be heard over residents' chants of "we will not be moved", said the council had acted lawfully at all times.

"Having engaged with the legal system [the Travellers] must now abide by the law. I would like to reflect on what the judge said – that the criminal law applies equally to all, Travellers and others alike. They have reached the end of the road," he said.

The council would pursue its legal costs, he added.

At the Dale Farm site Jake Fulton, a member of Dale Farm Solidarity, a group of activists supporting the residents' opposition to eviction, said the Travellers were prepared to resist.

"People are already flooding back, Travellers and supporters. We're expecting a big swell over the next couple of days," Fulton said. "At the end of the day we will be here for them, and we'll have to rely on the physical defences now that the legal ones have failed us."
The following is a statement from DALE FARM SOLIDARITY
13 October 2011 - Dale Farm Solidarity - Call 07583621312 for info about coming down

Calling out to all activists and legal observers – we need you to come to Dale Farm to support the families facing homelessness
Please forward to groups and supporters!
After weeks of wrangling in the High Court over various rulings on the legality of the eviction operation, today the residents of Dale Farm were refused the right to a judicial review of the eviction. This means that Basildon Council is able to legally evict the community. There is no longer an injunction to stop the eviction, but Basildon Council have said in court that they will not evict until Monday at the earliest.

The residents plan to lodge an appeal on Friday, and will find out on that day whether their request for an appeal is granted. If the appeal is not granted, Basildon Council could begin the eviction. If the appeal is granted, then legal proceedings could continue for anything from a day to several. If the appeal is heard on Monday, but rejected, the eviction can begin at any point from then.

Of course we are hoping that the appeal will be heard and decided in the Dale Farm community’s favour- but experience shows that judges, the legal system and planning regulations are weighed against Travellers. This is why the Dale Farm community are asking you to come down to Dale Farm this weekend to be ready to resist an eviction on Monday. (If you can, come down before the weekend, as there is loads to be done on site, and the more people are here, the safer the
residents feel.)

We know that this isn’t this first call out you have read from Dale Farm. We have had a lot of close calls, and the fact that the eviction hasn’t started yet is a testament to the power of protest. However, we are genuinely heading towards the end of the legal process, and it is really important that people are prepared to come down to resist the eviction and stand with the Dale Farm community at a time when they are at the receiving end of state violence and need our solidarity on a personal and political level.

If you can’t make it you can support in another way, we are in desperate need of funds. Please donate!

Activists are supporting the Travellers in defending their homes and community. There’s many different ways of getting involved – we need medics, legal observers, site defenders, cooks, etc.. More people are needed on all fronts.

Please sign up for txt alerts ( in case urgent information needs to get relayed or follow us on twitter (@letdalefarmlive) for
updates. You can send information to the legal hotline 07928669515

Getting to the site

Dale Farm is about 30-40 minutes from London by train, you can find directions here. (
From Wickford Station (30 minutes journey from London), it’s a 15 minute cycle/45 minute walk from the station.

To arrange a lift call the site phone: 07583621312
Please see map (
for more info on access to the site. As of Thursday 13th October, there are no restrictions on entering Dale Farm.

Be Prepared

Things to bring:
- warm clothes
- food
- water bottle
- sleeping bag and roll mat
- notepads, pencils
- torches
- cameras for taking photo evidence
- clean phone
- D-locks

Things not to bring:
- offensive weapons
- Things you would not like the police to take off you

A vegan kitchen is running. We will be asking for donations to cover our costs, but it may be an early target of the Bailiffs, so please bring extra food.

Sleeping arrangements
Sleeping space is available in caravans and residents’ homes but we encourage you to bring a tent, and you are welcome to sleep over anytime. Please bring a sleeping bag if you can, and a roll mat is highly recommended especially since most of the tent space is on hard ground.

Legal info
Write on your arm before you get here:
Dale Farm Legal Hotline: 07928 669 515
Birds Solicitors: 07966 234 994
Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors: 07659 111 192

Other info
Camp Constant site phone: 07583621312
The welcome pack is available here The welcome packs contain information on Dale Farm and the political context of the current eviction, Camp Constant and what to bring, Traveller history, and legal advice for activists.

People coming organised as affinity groups are very welcome.

Please promote our facebook group
( through social networking sites, and call up friends and groups to get a minibus down to Dale Farm.

See you here!

Camp Constant

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