CRT settled with a boater and kept the outcome confidential in a continuous cruising case last year. The case of CRT v Wingfield (3NG01237) was heard by HHJ Pugsley in Chesterfield County Court on 3rd and 4th March 2014. The resulting court order included a confidentiality clause preventing anyone from disclosing the terms of the settlement.
Mr Wingfield normally travelled between Loughborough and Newark, two places 36 miles apart by water. On Christmas Eve 2012 he travelled to Nottingham and got trapped in floods on the River Trent for two months. This meant he was targeted by an enforcement officer, who terminated his boat licence, even though Section 17(3)(c)(ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995 allows stays of longer than 14 days when it is “reasonable in the circumstances”.
Nick Brown, Legal Officer of the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) said “We believe that CRT settled with Mr Wingfield because they knew they could not win, given Mr Wingfield’s cruising distance and the fact his licence was terminated when he was trapped in floods”. He added “It is significant that the case was heard in full before CRT decided to settle. The Judge must have given a strong indication that CRT did not have a good case for terminating Mr Wingfield’s boat licence”.
Mr Wingfield discussed his past cruises, the 2012-2013 floods and the enforcement action on Facebook and other forums in early 2013. Boaters advised him to contact the NBTA, who referred him to a solicitor.
A letter from Nottingham County Court to the NBTA on 18th June 2014 stated “The Order of 4th March does specifically say that settlement was reached by the parties and that a copy of the settlement shall not be released to anyone other than the solicitors for the parties”. Normally CRT publishes the court orders it obtains in Section 8 cases on its web site here https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/publication-scheme/publication-scheme/court-action-to-remove-boats-from-our-waterways. The case was transferred from Nottingham County Court to Chesterfield County Court due to pressures on Court time.