claimants 1 defendants 0

COURTING DISASTER

If you’ve been wondering what happened in court on the 20th… we
lost. No great surprise I guess but we felt we had a good enough
defense to have had a shot and at least come aware with a
adjournment  till the new year.

Our defense boiled down to the issue of implied license. We’ve been
there for coming up to four years and the owner not only knew this
and did nothing until now to get us out or even mention that we were
trespassing, but on repeated occasions he (through his agents) asked
favors of us, made us responsible for buildings the collective was
not occupying within the block and even returned possession to us
when we provide unrestricted and unaccompanied access. On top of that
we raised a number of technical issues relating to how the claim was
served and whether there were prior tenancies that had not been
terminated correctly.

At some point it really looked like we were going to win this first
court room skirmish, but no such luck. After over three hours in
court the judge ruled that the claimants would get their possession
order after all.

It’s not all bad news, they don’t get their order for two weeks so
it’s bought a little breathing space.

So, we’ll be going ahead with the planned new years eve party,
another joint benefit with London No Borders.

> FUCK THE BALIIFFS! SMASH THE BORDERS!
> a New Years Eve extravaganza of roots music, conscious hip-hop,
mcs, djs and good times

8pm till late @ RampART Social Centre, 15-17 Rampart Street,
Whitechapel, E1
2LA (nearest tube: Whitechapel/Aldgate East)

Featuring:

* the leano (http://myspace.com/leanoland)
* dj captain crunch (http://myspace.com/djcaptaincrunch)
* peyoti for president (http://myspace.com/peyotiforpresident)
* park bench politics (http://myspace.com/bandem1)
* dj arrhythmia
* and more to be confirmed

Refreshments available. Suggested donation on entry £5.
All money raised goes to RampART and No Borders London.

> WE’LL MEET AGAIN

There is no monday meeting on the 24th as it’s cold, hard to travel
and there’s probably a james bond movie on the idiot box.

Instead we’ll have the last rampART meeting of 2007 on new years eve,
6pm, before the party. Prior to this meeting we intend to to an audit
of the resources in the building and in the meeting we’ll see how
much we think we can save based on offers of transport and storage
etc. that people have made. We’ll be discussing the move to another
building and other efforts.

If you want to help please come to this meeting.

> LOVE NOTES

For those who like this kind of detail, , below are some of the notes
some people took during the court hearing…

Notes from Court – Thurs 20th Decemper 2007

The Claimant’s Solicitor Mr Trumpeter (sic?) focussed on what he
called the 2 ‘substantive’ issues from our defense:
(1)  The Implied Licence granted by e-mails
(2)  The Intermediate Tenancy held by 4 persons – Claimant doesn’t
have immediate right to possession

In reference to number (1) he made 3 points:
(a)  That the Persons in communication via e-mail had no right to
grant any Licence as they were Surveyors not the Claimant “no-one can
give what they do not have”
(b)  That the Surveyors of course had to ask permission to avoid
Criminal Charges or obstruction – this is therefore not a Licence
(the Judge counterposed that equally the Surveyors could have
approached in a different manner and gone to state that they were
from Landlord and had right to access)
(c)  That the Defendants were referred to as Squatters in one of the
e-mails. (Ben later countered that those referred to as Squatters in
this e-mail were from 11 / 11a and not part of the Social Centre that
was being liaised with as ‘the Collective’)

In reference to number (2)
Trumpeter said that the Claimant doesn’t know who these 4 people are
and that there is no evidence for the existence of Tenancies.  He put
the onus for providing evidence on to us.
The Judge went with him on this and did not seem to understand the
legal implications if there were tenancies “how does it help you if
there are un-terminated tenancies out there?”
When asked by the Judge to advise on the legal implications of
tenancies existing, Trumpeter did say that that would mean that the
Claimant couldn’t seek possession but this point was lost in the
insistence that we had to provide evidence of the tenancies.  Ben
presented 2 letters with the names of 2 of the 4 people addressed to
number 7, but the Judge said that this showed at most that the
financial companies who wrote the letters believed that these people
were contactable there.
Trumpeter questioned why, if these tenants did have an agreement why
would they not have challenged Mr Leary for occupying the building.

The Judge asked about a Sealed Copy of claim and one was presented.

Regarding the fact that the Claim was against Persons Unknown despite
lengthy correspondence with named people, The Judge expressed
evidential unease:
“It raises the question as to Have I got before me the Full Story?”
This was about the fact that the Claimant had had knowledge of the
Occupation for over 3 years – “there may be more that should be put
before the court about the Claimants knowledge about the premises”.
Trumpeter argued that ‘ the Collective is amorphous’ – simply because
a person may have been known to another person 18 months ago, how are
the Claimants to know these people are still there?
The Judge pointed out that the law changed a few years ago so now
it’s not obligatory for the Owner of a building to seek knowing names.

About the Implied Licence:
Trumpeter argued that “simply because you know someone is there,
doesn’t give them any right to be there… the charge that by not doing
anything earlier we have granted Licence is not valid”
The Judge again said that his point is evidential.
To this Trumpeter responded that there is no evidence of a Licence
being granted.
The Judge raised the point of the Keys being handed back. “If for 2
years previously your client had known there were trespassers and
wanted to do something about it, surely they would not give the keys
back”
He saw this as ‘evidence of tolerance’ and said that they were
definitely unanswered questions in his mind.
“I haven’t seen anything from your side to say ‘you’ve got no right
to be here, get out’” – he referred to the e-mail at the bottom of
page 8 and pointed out that this was ‘hardly adversarial language’.
He agreed that knowledge of occupation does not equal consent, but
acquiescence in occupation could amount to granting of Licence… And
where was the evidence to say this is the end of our acquiescence?
Trumpeter said that as a matter of law he couldn’t deny that… but
that the issuing of these proceedings must count as acquiescence.

Ruling:
It is not disputed that persons unknown entered into the Claimants
premises in April 2004.  Whether these persons are the same as those
in court today we do not know.  But the premises have been occupied
by people since that time – as a Collective…  There is no doubt in
law that the Occupation was a trespass… as no payment was made no
tenancy or contractual Licence can be claimed but the Claimant
acquiesced to the occupation…the motivation for determining the
Licence is not important, the Claimant has the right to determine it…
there were some technical matters (sealed copy) but these have been
dealt with eg. Persons unknown – the judge agrees with Mr Trumpeter,
the proceedings were correctly issued… in regard to the 4 tenancies,
the Judge ruled that there was not evidence to support this (as above)
… in regard to the implied Licence, the Claimant had gone further
than mere knowledge and had acquiesced – eg. The threat of possession
proceedings was couched in terms of ‘if you don’t give us access’,
not just ‘because you shouldn’t be there’ – but any such Licence was
one at will which means that it could be determined by the Claimant
at any time.

Order of Possession granted in 14 days: 3rd January 2008.

Application for Costs granted: £150: also by 3rd January 2008.

(2nd set)

> Judge ARMON JONES
> claim against tresspassers
>
> the sollicitor started with saying, there are two substantial
> points in
> the defendant file, and replied to them:
> – the licence
>  – the surveyers who came to check the building once didn’t have
> the right
> to claim possession anyway
>  – they had to ask the permission to enter the premices anyway
>  – the email p17 refers to squatters (so what??)
>
> – an intermediate tenancy/agreement
>       – there are no evidence of an agreement
>
> The judge and the sollicitor both agreed (well, apparently not
> everyone
> understood that they agreed on that, so need notes from other people)
> – if a tenancy is not terminated, then the owner cannot take
> repossession
> (they agreed on that, but pretended not to understand that this
> could be
> helpful for our case, like if they didn’t understand that it would
> mean
> that they cannot evict the houses…)
> – they don’t give a shit about a spoken agreement or any sort of
> agreement
> that is not contractual
>
> the judge said:
> – we can’t ask the claimant to show, today, evidences of a terminated
> tenancy as they didn’t know we were going to raise this point
> – he agreed that they knew some names before issuing the
> proceedings, and
> asked himslef if this would need further inquiring.
> The sollicitor answer to that was:
> – well, the rampart collective is a very nebulous concept, with people
> changing, so we cannot infer that the names we had two years ago
> are the
> same ones for the people occupying now
> The judge agreed on that and added:
> – the law that requires an inquiry from the claimants to know the
> occupiers names has been dropped few years ago.
> he seems to be wrong here, as we’re not asking an inquiry so that the
> owners can get some names. They ALREADY HAVE the names, so we were
> just
> saying that if they have the names, they should have put them on
> the claim
> (together with persons unknown)
>
> The sollicitor said:
> that the owner didn’t do anything for 4 years to kick people out is
> not a
> valid argument (to claim for an agreement)
> knowledge of occupation is not consent
>
> But the judge took on the survey thing: if, after the survey,
> the owner representant gave the keys back, isn’t that an evidence of
> tolerance of occupation. maybe these questions should be explored
> wouldn’t that be consistent with the owner being happy with them to
> be there?
> if there is knowledge of continued occupation, couldn’t we think of
> some
> sort of consent, or acquiescence (I’m not sure here, I’m
> summarising the
> general idea but it can be a bit misleading, check other notes)
>
> the sollicitor said I don’t have instructions on that (the “key”
> thing)
> I have no knowledge of acquiescence
> there is no evidence of acquiescence
>
> The judge agreed that knowledge is not acquiescence
> But he admitted that at the very best, the occupiers were licenced
> (? is
> that the word?), or there was acquiescence
>
> the sollicitor said that in any case, any sort of licence would be
> terminated by the issuing of the proceedings.
>
> someone talked about different groups needing time to move stuff if we
> were to be evicted then they had all this chat about “is 14 days
> ok?” blablabla
>
> VERDICT
> ——-
>
> it is not disputed that persons unknown entered the property in
> april 2004
> don’t know if these persons unknown are today defendants
> it appears that the premices have been occupied since then
> the occupation was originally a tresspass
>
> what he understood the defendants said:
> – we obtained a licence to occupy
> – there was a knowledge and acquiescence of occupation
> – we admitted there was no payment/rent. so we can’t claim a
> tenancy or a
> licence on contractual terms.
> – we accepted that even if there was a licence, it wasn’t for ever,
> and it
> has to end one day
> therefore we agreed that any licence we have could be determined
> (is that
> terminated?)
>
> then he said about the licence (that was weird):
> – but the licence has not been determined
> – but these proceedings shows that the owner want the licence to be
> determined (not sure about the exact sentence)
>
> the Names thing, he said again that the law has changed.
>
> about the paragraph 13 and the tenancy not terminated
> – the claimants have no knowledgee of these names, and/or any
> tenancies
> granted to these names
> – we are not providing any evidence of previous tenancies (the two
> letters
> are useless)
>
> was there a licence? if so, upon what terms?
> the claimant knew some names, and knew the occupation
> but licence or acquiescence cannot arise from mere knowledge
> it is true that the owner didn’t do anything toward the occupiers
> during 4
> years but there was no licence granted at best, there was a licence
> at will
> then it means that even if there was this licence, it could be
> terminated
> by the owner at any moment and the issuing of the proceedings
> is a determination of this licence at will SO =>
> order of possession, 14 days, 3rd of January.
> and merry christmas
>

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