Tag Archives: Squatting

Daniel Gauntlett inquest: human rights issues and the ‘Middleton’ procedure

An inquest is to be held (on 10 December 2014 in Maidstone, Kent) into the death of Daniel Gauntlett who died in freezing temperatures outside a derelict bungalow in Kent. The death brought the notorious LASPO anti-squatting legislation into focus. An issue likely to be considered at the inquest is whether Gauntlett’s human rights were breached: did the state owe him a duty regarding his European Convention Article 2 right to life?

Campaigners have blamed his death on the LASPO legislation last year that banned squatting in residential buildings. They say he was barred from entering the building to protect himself from sub-zero temperatures last February [2013]. The inquest opens up the prospect of examining whether the legislation or the authorities acting under it bear any responsibility for Gauntlett’s death.

For that the inquest will have to be held under a “Middleton procedure”. Where public authorities might have been involved in a death, the procedure allows the coroner to examine whether the deceased’s right to life under Article 2 has been breached. As well as a standard finding on cause of death (by what means someone died) the coroner may in effect indicate where blame might lie by considering the circumstances of the death.

Campaigners want the coroner to look at how far Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 might have been responsible for Gauntlett’s death outside the bungalow in Aylesford, near Maidstone. At issue might also be the behaviour of police or social services.
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Filed under Analysis, Constitution, ECHR, European Convention on Human Rights, Human rights, Law, Legal, Politics, Public law, Social welfare, UK Constitution, UK Law, UK Politics, Uncategorized, Welfare law

Criminalisation of squatting: how protection of property could crumble

Laws that seem to be pure commonsense when the press is demanding them and MPs making stirring parliamentary speeches backing them can soon look very different when they come into force and are tested to destruction in the courts. This will inevitably be the case with the criminalisation of squatting provision in the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Criminalisation will have unintended consequences as a result of squatters’ response but also the response of property owners and the police – none of which can be predicted.

There follows a list of such actual and potential unexpected outcomes which it is intended will be updated as more become apparent.

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Filed under Criminal law, Law, Legal, Politics, UK Law, UK Politics