Saturday, 28 November 2015

Camden Mothership ...the Court of Public Opinion,the Travesty of Justice,Judge did not even let us present our defence.#olsx @occupynn

Camden Mothership ...the Court of Public Opinion,the Travesty of Justice,Judge did not even let us present our defence.

Despite being up till 4 am the night before court and preparing one of the most robust defences we have seen in nearly 25 years of defending ourselves in court.Today Judge Lightman,committed a travesty of Justice,when he was explained we had a QC Queens Counsel who would come to defend our case in the next half hour,we requested an adjournment to fully brief legal council and if the judge would not grant an adjournment,the we would represent ourselves and present our 8 page defence form ourselves.
The Judge moved straight to making a judgement and gave a possession order without even allowing us to prevent our defence. Even the 2 security guards from the court were heard to say they thought it was disgusting.
Despite protests during the judges summary,the judge would not hear our defence.
We spent the afternoon running round the High courts of INJustice to get an appeal that was denied.

So in the interests of public awareness we present our case in the COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION>Time will tell Camden day soon we will see an end to homelessness and all Council empty building,that they custodian on behalf of the people they are supposed to represent ,will be opened to community use,rather than left to rot..........

I dispute the claimant’s claim because:


1. The Claim for possession of 156 West End Lane includes land which is leased to Travis Perkins. The Claimant is not entitled to an order for possession for this land. 

2. I note that the Land Registry title exhibited includes a caution regarding a pending action by Travis Perkins on this address. I am told by Johnny the Manager of Travis Perkins, and verily believe, that the lease was in fact renewed, but with a break clause for December 2016. The lease still exists, although it is not long enough to require registering, and so would not show on the Land Registry title. 

3. The Defendants refer to passages in the current (7th) edition of Defending Possession Proceedings by Jan Luba QC, HH Judge Nic Madge, John Gallagher, and Derek McConnell at pages 496-497, indicating that landowners are not entitled to orders for possession in proceedings against trespassers unless they can show that they have an immediate right to possession, which will not be the case if there is an undetermined tenancy or licence.  

4. The Defendants further refer to Wirral BC -vs- Smith & Cooper (1982) 4 HLR 81 (CA), which shows that proceedings such as these can be maintained only by a party having an immediate right to possession and that a landlord cannot have such an immediate right to possession whilst a tenancy remains in existence.  Particular attention is drawn to the last paragraph of the speech of Lord Justice Ormrod and the first paragraph of the speech of Lord Justice Ackner, both on page 84

5. The Land Registry plan is not clear enough to differentiate the land claimed from any land that other people are occupying through tenancies or leases.
The Map is confusing 

5.1 Tenancy of Travis Perkins (TP) has not been ended, there is a break clause in Dec 2016 ,but the map appears very unclear as to which areas are to be possessed /evicted, TP shop, warehouse and yard are included in the map, as well as Wickes shop.
5.2 There is no clearly written out request as to which areas/plots of red, yellow, green,  blue or other areas ,that the council is seeking possession order of.
5.3 there is confusion over the address and post code 
5.4 We are at 156 West End Lane (WEL)  NW6 1 UF as well as 156 WEL NW6 1SD


6.1 The occupiers of the property have been in negotiation with a number of individuals at the council and these were generally positive. These included emails and conversation with Martin Olomofe, Head of property, emails from Theo Blackwell (finance councillor) saying as a matter of goodwill he would look at Camden’s property portfolio for us, and phone conversation with Jillian Blomfield, from Mike Cooke (Camden Chief executive) office, who asked us what it was we wanted. 
E-mails in evidence bundle presented. 

7. We replied with an email stating that we wanted to be here to serve Christmas dinner to the local community, homeless and elderly/people alone at Christmas, for a meeting as soon as possible and to discuss future use of this building for community use.

8. Our understanding was that we were in negotiation with the Claimant and that these continued. I submit that at least while negotiations were ongoing we had an implied licence to remain. 

9. The said licence has not been determined with due notice prior to the commencement of these proceedings.  The commencement of these proceedings is not itself an effective determination of the licence.   On the latter point, the Defendants refer to GLC-vs- Jenkins [1975] 1 All ER 354 (CA).  In the absence of any lawful determination of the licence, this claim is not within the scope of CPR 55.1(b) and should be dismissed.

9.1 We were given the keys by someone in the Camden housing dept who said they were very unhappy that the place had been left empty for three years in a housing crisis. 
We regard this as permission and licence to occupy from a member of Camden Councils Housing Team.


ECHR Articles 10 and 11 argument

  10.1 This is a housing protest by housing activists, in an empty housing office in a housing crisis for a temporary time till Christmas dinner for the elderly and homeless.
We have offered to end our temporary occupation in the next 14/28 days or jan 3rd to jan 14th 2016 has been offered in our numerous emails to Camden Council.

10.2 We believe that the manner and form of this occupation is reasonable and proportionate, utilising a housing office left empty for 3 years by a local authority that has repeatedly, for over 20 years and more, left many buildings empty while people freeze on the streets.

10.3 The protest should temporarily be upheld to help raise awareness in the media and with the public around Christmas of the unnecessary suffering caused by homelessness due to the inefficient management of resources, when we have around 1.5 million empty buildings in the UK.

We have been given licence agreements and been running community centres for over 20 years. We can provide references, including from JW3 the Jewish Community Centre for London on Finchley rd, where we occupied and were granted a care taking licence.

10.4 This is part of a national UK campaign to get empty council properties back into use, housing people and creating space for community projects. 
We will be able to leave the building after a short period of time. This is not an unreasonable request.
Ref Article in evidence bundle of Manchester council now opening a number of (NOV 2015) buildings to house the homeless over winter.
Cardiff, Poole, Dorset, Bedford,Brighton and Sheffield have petitions to open council empty buildings for public use.

ECHR arguments from Paul Ridge of Bindmans Solicitors

10.4.1)    The Claimant has not made a lawful decision to seek possession and can demonstrate to the court that it is prima facie entitled to an order for possession, it is averred that the court should refuse that remedy because to grant it would cause a disproportionate interference with their rights under ECHR Articles 10 and/or 11.

10.4.2)    It is averred that the decision making power of the Claimant is constrained by the common law and/or provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 and must be exercised compatibly with common law and/or Convention rights (inter alia) in Article 10 and 11 of the ECHR to free speech and association.

10.4.3)    The Defendant avers the Claimant has attributed insufficient weight to Article 11 in making a decision to seek possession at this point rather than agree a limited period in which to use the space for community benefit. 

The Defendants are aware that the occupation shames the council for its failure to better use the space for the benefit of the community and in order to balance the interests of the council and occupiers has:

a.    Confirmed occupation is temporary
b.    Offered to discuss matters and agree a timetable for departure.
c.    Proposed mediation. The courts have pointed out that no dispute was too intractable for mediation - see PGF II SA v OMFS Co 1 Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1288.
d.    Sough to avoid court costs through sensible dialogue and agreement.

10.4.4)    The Defendant avers that his use of the site is reasonable and a legitimate protest site within Articles 10 and 11 ECHR. The use is temporary and intended to highlight the failure of the council to use the building for the benefit of the community at a time of austerity and cuts. The Defendant avers that the public has a right to protest about the failure of Camden Council to use its housing stock and property effectively and for the community’s benefit.

10.4.5)    The Defendant avers that the occupation does not unreasonably interfere with the rights of the public or council to use the site, nor does it affect the reasonable comfort or convenience of the public.

10.5.6) In fact we have  massive support from the local community as can be witnessed by the letters,petitions,comments on articles in the press and support inside and outside the courtroom.

This is not so much about the council obtaining an eviction, but more about the council attempting to muzzle, stop and reduce, a protest to their plans.
This is an organised protest in conjunction with the community with logistical support,consent.
 It is planned and welcomed by many aspects of the West Hampstead community. 

This is not just between us and Camden, but residents and local community, being part of the matrix of this dispute.
 They may wish to involve themselves or intervene in these proceedings on the next occasion. 
We are aware that there may be a judicial review against Camden on this.

11.  Social Report

Social report, the council has a duty of care to 20 people including the elderly (a 68 year old), the vulnerable, children and a pregnant woman, who are resident. 
They have not made any attempt to assess our housing needs or conduct a social report, which we are led to believe by the Community Law Partnership is their statutory duty. 
The council has a legal obligation and a duty of care to do a social report on the housing needs and effects of an eviction. Reference Community care assessment information provided in evidence bundle. As well as obligations under the NHS and community care act 1990 section 47(1) and(2)
Reference the Crowborough Ruling 1995? Apologies to the court we need time to find the exact name of the ruling and precedent.

12.  Mediation Argument
12.1 We have repeatedly offered in our emails and phone conversations with Camden Council, to discuss leaving in 14-28 days ( or Jan 3rd/14th after the Christmas period) and repeatedly requested mediation.
We have asked for a meanwhile lease to a possible legal entity which we are able to set up. 
We have also linked the council to two groups that could sign a meanwhile lease, such as Interim spaces or Respace projects Ltd, so as to save Camden Council courts time and costs as well as saving the court precious time and resources.

However Camden Council, as can be seen from our e-mails and a number of e-mails from solicitors, have refused to enter into mediation. Mediation which would save valuable court time and costs.
We also offered to hand over the keys after a designated time of stay. We merely want to cook a Christmas dinner for the local community, the homeless and elderly people who will be alone over the coming christmas holiday.
We will use our time in the building to raise awareness in the media and with the public of the urgent need to use empty council properties to house people over the bitterly cold winter months.
We do not wish to stand in the way of the councils development, but would like to discuss interim use of the building as a self funded community centre, which the council said they were interested in discussing.
A meanwhile lease that Camden said they were considering and thought was a wonderful idea until they learnt about our occupation. However evidence has come to light and is presented in a number of requests by the neighbourhood development forum of Fortune Green and West Hampstead as well as other community groups to use the building for community or office use, these formal quests by upstanding members of the community have in their own words been rejected and stonewalled.
Therefore our occupation and protest is one of the few ways of  highlighting in the media the issues regarding the intelligent use of resources and infrastructure that the council are supposed to be custodians and stewards of on behalf of the people they represent.
We wish to highlight with our occupation and protest a national campaign to open all council buildings for the benefit of the communities they represent.
We raise awareness of the neglect, negligence and incompetence of government and councils by highlighting their duty of care to the  100,000 children homeless this Christmas!
Facts and figures street homeless up 79% in last 5 years especially since criminalising sheltering in residential empty buildings (Laspo act 2012)
We also aim to raise awareness in the media of the unjust and unfair criminalising of our rights and ancient rights to shelter or squat in some of the 1.5million empty buildings in the UK.
The UK government has enacted a law to criminalise squatting in residential buildings despite 95% of responses to its 'consultation' opposing any further legislation.
The legislation affects the most vulnerable people in society, empowers unscrupulous landlords and burdens the justice system, police and charities.
The Squash campaign provides resources on these impacts to raise awareness on the matter.

Statement of Truth

I believe that the facts stated in this defence form are true


Full name……..Peter Phoenix...........................................................

 Defendant’s address to   
which documents 
should be sent

N11 Defence form

1 comment:

  1. Not a lawyer, but wouldn't the judges' refusal to allow a half-hour wait so you get fair presentation be good grounds to appeal?