Gypsies and Travellers

If a person is on someone else’s land without permission s/he will be committing the civil tort of trespass. It is not a criminal offence. To evict a trespasser from open land the owner must issue proceedings in the County or High Court to obtain a possession order (and if necessary, an injunction).

There is no requirement to give notice of intended court proceedings before issuing proceedings to evict travellers or gypsies from land if they have not been provided with permission to be on the land.

The Supreme Court has decided that whilst a possession order can only be made in respect of the land actually occupied, an injunction can be made regarding land that trespassers might occupy in the future (ie once they have been evicted from their current site to prevent them returning).[1]

The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 introduced criminal offences for trespassing which can be used in the cases where public order offences are an issue (e.g. violence or harassment).

Under section 77 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 a local authority can order any person living in a vehicle within its area to move off any land that:

  • forms part of a highway, or
  • is unoccupied (even where the person is causing no nuisance or interference to neighbours etc), or
  • is occupied, but the occupier has not given permission to her/him to reside there.

The information on this page applies only to England.

[1] Secretary of State For Environment, Food and Rural Affairs v Meier and others [2009] UKSC 11.

contact for landlord advice uk
Prescribed Information Signed by Companies

We lead the way with evictions, helping landlords are agents nationally with a guaranteed eviction service and free advice line. Click to read our eviction service page.