Legal case: Sarah Ward v Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole

Liberty acted as lawyers for Sarah Ward in the first challenge against a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that effectively criminalise homlessness.

The PSPO had four prohibitions that sought to criminalise poverty. It forbade:

  • approaching another person either in person with a sign, with a sign or gesture in order to beg for money, food or drink
  • sitting or loitering in a public space with any receptacle used to contain monies  from the public for  the purpose of personal gain
  • leaving any unattended belongings such a bedding, bags etc, in the designated area
  • cause an obstruction without reasonable excuse in a doorway belonging to any retail, licenced or commercial premises or public building, or any car park or public area including hallways, stairwells, landings etc.

After court proceedings started, BCP council agreed to remove the four offending clauses from the PSPO.


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