Our thanks to Garden Court North for drawing this case to our attention. The LAA has recently granted exceptional funding for an application to set aside an injunction banning persons unknown from begging in Leeds city centre. GCN’s website reports:
Exceptional case funding has been granted by the Legal Aid Agency to apply to set aside Leeds City Council’s injunction obtained under S222 Local Government Act 1972 against persons unknown on behalf of a man who it has been sought to commit to prison.
Leeds City Council obtained the injunction / restraining order from “begging” in Leeds City centre against “persons unknown”, even though a number of the alleged beggars, including our client, are known to Leeds City Council. Our client was then served with the injunction after it had been obtained despite being later described in Leeds City Council’s own evidence as a known and prolific beggar.
The committal has been adjourned pending this application to set aside and will be challenged on the basis that:
– The Court did not have power to make it as there are statutory remedies that should have been used.
– It was an abuse of process not to name those it knew and alleged to be begging.
– In any event the criteria for an injunction restraining a criminal offence or public nuisance are not met and the injunction fails to consider the personal circumstances of the individuals concerned and subverts the prohibition on the making of bye-laws without the permission of the Secretary of State.
After a lengthy struggle to obtain funding, exceptional funding was granted (on 5th November 2014) to challenge the injunction itself.
James Stark and Joe Markus of GCN are instructed by Rhiannon Jones of Lester Morrill Solicitors .
As always, we would be pleased to hear of other grants of exceptional funding, and to publicise them for the benefit of others making similar applications.