Squatters and Protesters

Many members of Landmark’s property team have significant experience in relation to possession and injunction claims involving squatters, including protesters.

Landmark’s barristers regularly appear in the High Court and County Court in trespasser proceedings relating both to residential and commercial premises.

In an area of practice that is highly time critical, Landmark barristers have significant experience of achieving results within very tight timescales, and also of understanding what must be done procedurally in order to ensure that any Order is robust against challenge.

Barristers have a track record in providing creative and practical results. In cases of real urgency, possession claims have successfully been brought with time abridged for service of hours rather than days, and with substituted methods of service including digital means. Chambers has significant experience of bringing urgent claims both out of hours and as urgent business in the High Court vacation.

Landmark’s clients in such cases have included major private landowners, government agencies, local government and universities.

Chambers has a particular specialism in proceedings involving protesters, and has been at the forefront of the developing law relating to injunctions against persons unknown.

Examples of high profile and key cases are the following:

  • Parliament Square protest camp (Mayor of London v Hall [2010] EWCA Civ 817);
  • Occupy London (public land) – London Stock Exchange and St Paul’s Cathedral protests (City of London Corp v Samede [2012] EWHC 34 (QB));
  • Occupy London (private land) – bank building occupied as the “Bank of Ideas” (Sun Street Property Ltd v Persons Unknown [2011] EWHC 3432 (Ch));
  • Numerous claims by universities in relation to student occupational protests, including SOAS, Birmingham, Sussex and the University of the Arts. (e.g. University of Sussex v Protestors [2010] 16 E.G. 106 (C.S.)); University of Birmingham v Person Unknown [2015] EWHC 544 (Ch));
  • Matters of security relating to the London 2012 Olympics;
  • Sheffield tree protest litigation: this included successful injunction procedings (Sheffield City Council v Fairhall [2017] EWHC 2121 (QB)) and later committal proceedings in 2018;
  • ‘Urban Explorers’ litigation involving trespassing protesters at the Canary Wharf estate (Canary Wharf Investments Ltd v Brewer, unreported QBD 23 February 2018);
  • Challenge to abortion clinic ‘Public Space Protection Order’ (Dulgheriu v Ealing LBC, QBD 2018).

Landmark’s experience in this area allows barristers to stay ahead of the latest arguments that are often used by protesters in order to delay possession orders being made.

Landmark’s breadth of specialisms is also evident in this area of practice. Numerous public law and human rights considerations were involved in a number of the above cases, as well as numerous different statutory frameworks.

A number of Landmark’s barristers have been recognised in Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 for their strength in this area, and regularly give talks which focus on this subject.

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