On Monday 19 September the Irish Travellers on Dale Farm successfully obtained an emergency injunction in the High Court staying the planned evictions and preventing bailiffs from entering the site.
Marc Willers represented them in the High Court on Friday 23 September where the matter was heard in full. Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart gave his judgment on Monday 26 September and held that there were a number of issues that should be tried concerning the extent to which Basildon Borough Council could use its direct action powers to clear the Dale Farm site. Directions were given and Marc Willers will be representing the site occupants at the trial which is set to take place on Monday 3 October.
Marc Willers will also be representing the site residents in a separate application for judicial review which is due to be heard on Thursday 29 September in the Administrative Court. The application challenges the Council’s decision to take direct action and if it is successful the eviction of site residents could be prevented until alternative site provision is made for them.
Last week, Stephen Cottle and Michael Paget appeared in a separate application before Lord Justice Pill on behalf of Dale Farm residents. Michael Paget acted in the High Court when an injunction to stop the eviction was sought. This was until a judge was able to consider whether the proposed eviction was proportionate in light of the owners’ personal circumstances and Basildon’s failure to provide an additional 62 legal pitches in its district. Stephen Cottle acted, pro bono, when permission to appeal was refused.
Dale Farm has been a site of contention for 10 years. It used to be a scrap yard. The plots on the site have been purchased legally by the Irish Travellers, but planning permission for residential use was granted for only part of the site.
Stephen Cottle, Michael Paget and Marc Willers are all members of Garden Court’s Gypsy and Traveller Team. Members of the team regularly defend the rights of Gypsies and Travellers in the courts, and have also given training across Europe on Gypsy and Roma rights.