chapter  7
22 Pages

Towards inappropriateness

ByDavid Cowan

English property law protects possession. Landowners’ actions to evict squatters are not based upon a superior paper title but upon an earlier right to possession. For property lawyers, therefore, squatting, or adverse possession, is an entirely natural process. The definition of the word ‘gypsy’ has always been suffused with a significant ambivalence, which also reflects societal ambivalence towards travellers themselves. The Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993 began the legislative progression by imposing a duty on local authorities not to house those asylum seekers who had temporary accommodation, provided it was reasonable for them to continue to occupy their temporary accommodation. The punitive reaction was reached in relation to asylum seekers and immigrants by the cutting off of their livelihood. By way of contrast to the law on squatting, the 1960s gave rise to a more enlightened approach to the ‘true gypsy’ than had previously been apparent.