Casebook: Court cases - Injunction issued against unknown persons

The Court of Appeal has granted an injunction allowing South Cambridgeshire District Council to take action against unauthorised caravans occupied by travellers, concluding that the courts had the power to authorise the relief sought.

In July the council asked the High Court to grant an injunction under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to prevent more caravans from being brought onto the site. It argued that the site had been occupied without planning permission and that the arrival of further caravans would undermine the character of the area.

The High Court judge decided that he could not issue an injunction preventing "persons unknown" from bringing caravans onto the site or laying down hardcore. However, he granted leave for the council to appeal against the decision. In the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Brooke decided that although the case concerned a "tricky area of law", the courts did have the power to grant such an injunction.

South Cambridgeshire District Council v Persons Unknown; Date: 17 September 2004; Ref: B2/2004/1655.

Comment: This case is noteworthy in illustrating how legal matters are constantly developing, particularly in respect of travellers and Gypsies. This ruling potentially provides a basis for an injunction to be issued to prevent any person from entering an unauthorised site, irrespective of whether the local authority knows their identity.

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