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COVID-19 – Homelessness and the Criminal Law

Speaker: Stephen Knight
Chambers: One Pump Court Chambers

Stephen Knight
One Pump Court Chambers

• England only.
• Specific issues that criminal defence practitioners will face when dealing with “homeless” clients.

The specific circumstances of homeless people are mentioned in the law, and “homeless” is a legal term which needs proper attention.
Even when not set out in the law, the circumstances of a homeless person may give them a defence.
Policing of COVID-19 restrictions has a disproportionate impact on homeless people.
The state is likely to use lockdown to attack homeless people.

Police, Home Office, and some “homelessness charities” (St Mungo’s, Thames Reach, and Change Grow Live) cooperated to illegally detain and deport migrant rough sleepers.
Disproportionate policing targets rough sleepers in city centres.

The Law

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (“The Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations”).
Regulation 6 (from 22 April 2020):
“(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.”
“(4) Paragraph (1) does not apply to any person who is homeless.”

Who is “Homeless”?
Narrow reading: only a person who does not have somewhere to live.
Wide reading: any person covered by s 175 Housing Act 1996.

This presentation comes with complete notes , slides and a feedback sheet .Please go to the members login area to view this very useful seminar

You can contact Stephen Knight via his clerks