Supreme Court delivers judgment in the case of Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs v Meier and others

Wednesday 9 December 2009

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On 1st December the Supreme Court delivered judgment in the case of Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs v Meier and others [2009] UKSC 11. The case concerned the jurisdiction of the County Court to make a wide possession order against Travellers. At first instance the Forestry Commission had obtained a possession order made in respect of a piece of woodland on which a number of Travellers had been encamped without permission. However, the County Court had refused to grant a wider possession order, in respect of other distinct areas of woodland which had not been occupied by the Travellers. The Forestry Commission appealed and, on appeal, the Court of Appeal relied upon its decision in the case of Drury v Secretary of State for the Environment [2004] EWCA Civ 200 and concluded that it had the power to grant the wider possession order sought and that such an order should be made. The Travellers appealed that decision and the Supreme Court upheld their appeal, having concluded that the Court had no power to make a wide possession order in circumstances where the land to which it related had not been occupied by the Travellers. In doing so the Supreme Court expressly stated that the contrary view expressed by the Court of Appeal in Drury v Secretary of State for the Environment was wrong.

Marc Willers appeared for the appellant Travellers and was led by Richard Drabble QC.

 

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