We still want to hear from boaters affected by new CRT licence T&C – Update regarding Crowdjustice fundraiser ‘Protect boats that are people’s homes!’

The coalition of boat dwellers, NBTA and other support organisations that is running the appeal for funds for the legal challenge to CRT’s revised Boat Licence Terms and Conditions is extremely grateful to all the supporters who have made donations to this appeal. The appeal has been paused and may be wound up soon. This will not prevent us opening another appeal to continue the case if we believe this is necessary and appropriate. We have used the remainder of the funds to seek further advice from a senior Barrister regarding Canal & River Trust’s (CRT) response to our second Pre-Action Protocol letter.

Our lawyers Community Law Partnership have also written to CRT asking why it has not implemented its decision to revert to the previous wording of Clause 5.4 in the new terms and Conditions (previously Clause 4.1 in the 2015 version).

We believe that we have reached the limit of what this legal challenge can achieve without an individual claimant who can be added to the case. This is because CRT has made it clear that it will demand the appointment of an individual as an additional claimant as a condition of permission being granted to bring a Judicial Review of the changes to the Boat Licence Terms and Conditions. We are therefore seeking an individual boat dweller who is willing and able to take on this role. If you think you might be able to do this, or know someone who may, please read the message from our lawyers below:

Community Law Partnership writes:

As you will know, we were instructed by the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) to challenge the new Boat Licence Terms and Conditions that have been brought in as of 24th May 2021 by CRT and to also challenge the way the consultation process was carried out. Despite the best efforts of NBTA, other boat dwellers and support organisations, ourselves and our Barrister on this matter, CRT has not agreed to change any of the terms and conditions that we believe are adverse especially to liveaboard boaters.

It is unlikely that the NBTA will be able to take the case any further itself because CRT stated in its letter of 18th June 2021 that, as NBTA is an unincorporated association, it will demand a security deposit against any court costs CRT may incur. CRT has also made clear it may seek the “appointment of an individual(s) as an additional claimant(s) as a condition of permission being granted, unless satisfied that your client is able to meet any costs orders that may be made in the proceedings”.

We are therefore looking for liveaboard boaters who are affected adversely by these changes and who are likely to qualify for Legal Aid (ie on a low income or benefits) to take this matter forward.

Though CRT announced on 24th May 2021 that the new terms and conditions were coming into force, they are, of course, only being imposed on boaters when their Boat Licence comes up for renewal. Please phone us on our Travellers Advice Line which is 0121 685 8677 and is open Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 1.00 pm. Or you can contact secretariat@bargee-traveller.org.uk or 0118 321 4128 for more information.

See https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/protect-boats-homes/