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Respect for the home as a defence in eviction proceedings

Sir Alan Ward's obiter comments that squatters' article 8 rights were engaged in 
eviction cases brought by private landowners are likely to carry significant weight 
in practice, says Leon Glenister

5 August 2013

Sir Alan Ward's comments in Malik v Fassenfelt and Ors [2013] EWCA 798, the "Grow Heathrow" squatters case, have caused a stir.

The land being squatted had been used for various business ventures, latterly the respondent let it to a tenant who used it for fly tipping and dumping cars. From March 2010, the appellants gained entry onto the land, cleared the mess and set up a market garden, winning popularity with the local residents. They lived on the site.

In possession proceedings brought by the respondent the first instance Judge, HHJ Walden-Smith, found that article 8, which protects an individual's right to respect for their home, was engaged in cases involving private landowners. This was because under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998, the court is explicitly a public authority and therefore cannot make an order which would breach an individual's rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. However, she found it proportionate to...

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