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Council settles judicial review case brought by Irish traveller

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An Irish traveller has successfully challenged a local authority’s “discriminatory” policy.

With help from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the individual had pursued a judicial review over the way North Somerset Council had handled its housing allocation scheme.

The bone of contention was that the council had introduced a requirement for people to prove a “local connection” in order to be included in the Gypsy/Traveller pitch allocation scheme.

The woman in question was unable to do so and consequently was denied entry to the council’s register.

Last month, the council agreed to settle the judicial review on the day before the case was due to be heard in court.

A spokesman for the Equality Commission told the Travellers Times that the case demonstrated the need for councils to ensure that their housing policies were “consistent and fair.”

“North Somerset’s refusal to put the claimant on their housing register because she did not have a local connection to the area was unfair and discriminatory,” he said.

“Travellers regularly move from place to place making it very difficult for them to establish local connections.

“We are pleased the council has understood this and agreed to place the claimant on its housing register and review its housing allocations scheme.”

As well as agreeing to revisit its policy to ensure that it complies with equality laws, the council was ordered to pay full costs.

At Lester Morrill, our solicitors are highly experienced in working with the Roma and Gypsy Traveller community and have acted in a number of high profile cases across the country, including Dale Farm and Meriden. To find out more about how our Public Law team can assist you, please contact us today.