Gypsy wins backing of equality commission - 8848

Gypsy wins backing of equality commission

A single mother of three is heading back to court with high hopes that she and her children may finally win the right to live on their own land.

But this time, Romani Gypsy Charmaine Moore will have the full weight of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights behind her, when her application for judicial review is heard by a High Court Judge.

Ms Moore has been refused planning permission to live in a caravan on land she owns in the London Borough of Bromley.

Ms Moore has previously been successful in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal in having a planning inspector’s decision quashed. She is now challenging a decision by Secretary of State Eric Pickles that he should decide her appeal himself.

Ms Moore, and a second single mum Sarah Coates, are due in the High Court on December 4, but the good news for the pair is that the Equality and Human Rights Commission has been granted leave to intervene on their behalf.

Timothy Jones, a barrister with No5 Chambers who is representing Ms Moore said: “We believe we have a strong case.

“The Secretary of State has recovered a disproportionate number of Gypsy and Traveller appeals in the Green Belt, and we say that his unfavourable treatment of this minority amounts to discrimination.

“But also, a detrimental consequence of recovery is an unacceptable delay in hearing an appeal. Appeals by planning inspectors take at most eight weeks from the inquiry; when an appeal is recovered by the Secretary of State, the equivalent time scale is usually a year more. This is huge difference and wholly unacceptable.”

Tim Jones is a co-author of ‘Gypsy and Traveller Law’ and has been counsel on a number of notable cases concerning caravan sites, Gypsies and Travellers, including appearances before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

PICTURED: Timothy Jones of No5 Chambers