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Court of Appeal Upholds Decision Not to Permit Gypsies to Remain on Site

Saira Kabir Sheikh QC

WYCHAVON DISTRICT COUNCIL v RAFFERTY & ORS (2006)

CA (Civ Div) (Sir Andrew Morritt C, Tuckey LJ, Sir Peter Gibson) 27/4/2006

Wychavon District Council had obtained an injunction preventing Gypsies and Travellers from occupying a site in their district without first obtaining planning permission.

The injunction was breached and the Gypsies moved onto the site and began using it for residential purposes.

An application to commit the Gypsies for breach of the court order was made by Wychavon District Council. An application to vary the injunction was made at the same time by the Gypsies so as to allow them to remain on the site until their planning appeal was heard. It was argued for the Gypsies that the outcome of the appeal should be awaited as amongst other reasons, the new circular 01/06 had enhanced its prospects of success.

The judge in the High Court, Newman J committed the gypsies for breach of the order suspended on condition they leave the site within 2 weeks and dismissed the application to vary having taken a broad view of the planning merits and not considered that the arguments advanced altered the view he had taken regarding the prospects of success of the appeal.

The Gypsies appealed both decisions by way of an expedited hearing to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal dismissed both appeals holding that the decision of Newman J was not perverse as he had taken into account the relevant principles in the authorities and could not be criticised for his approach to assessing the merits of the appeal. The Court held that the planning inspector would eventually decide the appeal and would have more evidence than had been before the judge. It was not the Court of Appeal's function to second guess the outcome of the appeal Saira Kabir Sheikh appeared on behalf of Wychavon District Council in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.