Canals and Article 8 – again

Jones v. Canal & River Trust [2017] EWCA Civ 135 – 7 March 2017 – read judgment

In recent years, the Courts have come up with a pragmatic resolution to the clash of property and Article 8 rights which typically occur in housing cases. Where the tenant is trying to use Art.8 to fend off a possession order, because he is in breach of some term of the tenancy, then the Courts, here and in Strasbourg, have resolved the issue in the favour of the local authority, save in exceptional circumstances.

But the current case of a canal boat owner raises a rather different balance of rights and interests – which is why the Court of Appeal evidently found the issue a difficult one to decide.

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Triumph for canal boat litigant in person

 KF2-2002Moore v British Waterways Board [2013] EWCA Civ 73 – read judgment

A boat owner has won his appeal against the British Waterways Board preventing him from mooring his boats alongside his land on a tidal stretch of the Grand Canal.  Although he had no common law right to permanently moor the boats, he had committed no actionable wrong in doing so, and they were therefore not moored “without lawful authority” within the meaning of the British Waterways Act 1983. This judgment is an interesting and important endorsement of the principle in English law that everything is permitted except what is expressly forbidden. 

This key “rule of law” principle applies as much to the BWB as it does to the police and other law enforcement agencies. Continue reading