April 17th, 2007

Legends -- From http://icons.ruby-soho.n

Court proceedings London 1975

Yes, it's another London 1975 question... : )

I'm not sure how to Google for this, it's so specific. This is the situation:

There is a building (let's call it the Brickhouse) in Somers Town that Camden Council wants to demolish. They SAY it's because they want to build new buildings there, but they don't have the money to do this--the real reason they want to demolish is to get rid of the squatters living in the building. The squatters, however, don't want to leave. So when the demolition crew shows up outside, they go up on the roof of the Brickhouse and refuse to leave. The demolition crew begins destroying other squats on the road, after having evicted all squatters. One member of the Brickhouse runs off and gets an injunction, and succeeds in stopping the demolution, but not before all squats on the road except for the Brickhouse are either completely destroyed or badly damaged. (This is all much like what happened to St. Agnes Place in 1977.) Now, the squatters want to get a guarentee that the Brickhouse will not be in danger again, so they want to argue in court against the Camden Council. They're going to charge a case of Ultra Vires, "which seeks to establish that a minister or local authority has acted beyond its powers."  As with the famous case of St. Agnes Place, the argument hinges upon the legality of a council destroying buildings when it is not in a position to proceed with the development plans for the area.

I want to write about the scene where the squatters and the Camden Council argue in court. Unfortunately, I have very little knowledge of any court proceedings, especially those in the UK in 1975. I need to get an idea of what the proceedings for a case like this might be like. Would people from both sides make their cases? Would there be cross-examining, etc., before the case was handed over to the jury? Any information at all would be greatly appreciated.