Statement: Nick Brown v British Waterways Board

24 May 2012

British Waterways welcomes the Order of The Honourable Mr Justice Eder in the High Court of Justice dated 9 May 2012 in refusing permission for a Judicial Review of BW’s guidance for boaters without a home mooring.

As well as noting that the application from Nick Brown of the National Bargee Travellers Association was out of time, Mr Justice Eder refused permission on the grounds that ‘it does not give rise to any properly arguable basis for judicial review.

’The application for judicial review asserted that BW’s ‘Guidance for Boaters without a Home Mooring’, issued in 2011, was contrary to waterways law and was in breach of the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.

After considering the application Mr Justice Eder decided that BW’s guidance is consistent with the British Waterways Act 1995 and furthermore that assertions within the application that the guidance represents a breach of both the Human Rights Act and Equality Act are ‘misconceived’.

Revisions to BW’s ‘Mooring Guidance for Continuous Cruisers’ were made in 2011 following the Judgment in the BW v Davies case.

BW consulted with a user group comprising of representatives from national boating organisations, including Mr Brown, on revisions to the guidelines in light of the Judgment. The refined and updated guidelines are now called ‘Guidance for Boaters without a Home Mooring’.

In refusing the application Mr Justice Eder also ordered Mr Brown to pay BW costs of £15,000.

via Newsroom – British Waterways.

2 comments to Statement: Nick Brown v British Waterways Board

  • BW is misleading boaters again over legality of its guidance for continuous cruising. The BW press release of 23 May stated that the High Court had issued a judgement upholding the lawfulness of its Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring. This is not the case; liveaboard boater Nick Brown is continuing his Judicial Review of BW's Guidance.

    Mr Brown said “BW claimed that it won. What happened here was that permission was refused at a papers hearing, the first of many steps in judicial review proceedings. Permission is rarely granted at this stage: this is a filter for casual cases. There is nothing casual about boat dwellers losing their homes”.

    "BW has prematurely declared that it has won this issue" he added. "I will pursue this national interest dispute as far as is necessary to see that boat dwellers' rights, as cast by Parliament and the European Convention on Human Rights, are upheld. BW also claimed that I have been ordered to pay costs of £15,000. In fact the Court observed that this was an excessive amount and has held back on making a costs order, stating that this is for a later Court to consider".

    The Guidance purports to clarify the boat movement that is required of boaters without home moorings. Mr Brown contends that their navigation obligations are laid out not only in s.17(3)(c)(ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995 but are also clarified by the minutes of the Select Committee which drafted the Act.

    Mr Brown believes that the Guidance does not reflect the meaning intended by Parliament of s.17(3)(c)(ii) of the 1995 Act. The Guidance goes much further than s.17(3)(c)(ii) requires, and therefore BW does not have the legal power to enforce the Guidance. Further, Mr Brown is concerned that boat dwellers who do comply with the 14-day rule remain at risk of losing their homes. Itinerant boat dwellers are one of the groups of people with the least protection against homelessness.

    • Will Chapman

      I have obtained a copy of the Judgement – see here – and it looks quite clear to me that BW won the case and that Moore has to pay BW’s costs which the Judge valued at £15,000.

      The Judgement doesn’t give any grounds for the other claims that your post is making (and I note that Mr Brown is the author of the post), so perhaps you would be good enough to provide specific quotes (presumably from the Judge’s summary) that substantiate your rather serious claims?


      Will Chapman

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