Statement: Nigel Moore v British Waterways

7 March 2012

British Waterways welcomes the Judgment of The Honourable Mr Justice Hildyard in the High Court of Justice on 16 February 2012 in which he declared that the vessel ‘Gilgie’, owned by Nigel Moore, was unlawfully moored.

Mr Justice Hildyard conducted what was, in the eyes of one legal commentator, a “massively detailed and scrupulous analysis of the source of the British Waterways Board’s powers” which resulted in British Waterways winning on all the claims before the Court. Mr Moore was ordered to move ‘Gilgie’ from the waterways managed by British Waterways by 16 May 2012 and not to return ‘Gilgie’ or any other vessel to the stretch of the Grand Union Canal between Bax’s Mill/The Boatman’s Institute and the junction of the Canal with the Thames, other than at a lawful mooring or to cruise lawfully. Mr Moore was ordered to contribute to British Waterways’ legal costs.

Mr Justice Hildyard ruled that a riparian owner has no entitlement, simply by owning the land, to moor a vessel alongside their land other than temporarily to facilitate access and for loading and unloading. A vessel moored on any of British Waterways’ navigations requires a valid boat licence, and needs to comply with the terms and conditions of that licence.

British Waterways accepts that it failed to adhere to its own internal procedures in 2007, when enforcement staff did not issue advance warning letters before serving legitimate notices to remove vessels under the British Waterways Act 1983. At the time, enforcement officers did not believe the vessel was being used as a home and so issued the notice without prior warning letters, as would normally have been the practice. British Waterways accepts that this action was premature and the enforcement officers should have made more enquiries into the situation. Since the event, British Waterways has reinforced its internal processes and procedures. No remedy was required as this procedural mistake had no consequences: the notice was never acted upon, Mr Moore having embarked on a course of litigation.

Nigel Moore v British Waterways Board: Approved Judgement

via Newsroom – British Waterways.

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