Criminalising Shoreditch?

People might think something needs to be done about Shoreditch, but on the 3rd March an Interim Possession Order was granted on the whole of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard, including Shoreditch High Street station, the football pitches, the car wash and the “boxpark” shops.

Anyone in occupation at the time that the order was served should have left the land, and anyone using the station or the football pitches, or entering the shops could have been liable for arrest if accused of, or considered by police to be trespassing. How would they tell?

There was meant to be a follow-up hearing on the 10th at which the IPO might have come to an end, and at which a full possession order might have been made, giving Network Rail the right to bring in bailiffs to remove everyone from the land. That would be interesting.

The IPO was made by Mrs Justice Asplin DBE in the High Court, having agreed that service of the claim and application be reduced to 5 hours and 45 minutes. The claim doesn’t seem to have been served on all of the land covered by the order. A Guy Thornet for Network Rail had signed a statement that there was nobody else with any right to occupy the land, ignoring the thousands of people with a licence or tenancy to be on the land. This could be considered by some to be a criminal contravention of s75 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 as well as contempt of court.

The IPO itself was obviously not served on the whole of the land claimed, but was found on a mainly unused gate round the back. It was not in the correct format, but was cobbled together by Network Rail, and did not make clear what land was covered. So, all in all it would be pretty easy to argue against arrest and/or conviction, but it is concerning that an order was made that so clearly included land that wasn’t served and whose occupiers had every right to be there.