A gypsy has been awarded Euros 8,000 in damages and costs after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the English legal system did not afford her a fair opportunity to contest her eviction from a caravan site and that her right to respect for her private and family life had been violated.
Maria Buckland had her licence to occupy a pitch on a caravan site in South Wales terminated by the Gypsy Council, which managed the site, in 2005. She left the site in 2008 after unsuccessfully defending possession proceedings in the county court and the Court of Appeal.
In upholding her claim against the government of the United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that, during the domestic proceedings, she had not had the opportunity to contest her eviction on grounds that it would be disproportionate in the light of her personal circumstances.
The safeguards enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had not been observed and the court concluded: ‘As a result, she was dispossessed of her home without any possibility to have the proportionality of her eviction determined by an independent tribunal.’
The government of the United Kingdom was ordered to pay Mrs Buckland Euros 4,000 in damages to compensate her for the ‘feelings of frustration and injustice’ that she endured and another Euros 4,000 to cover her costs and expenses.