Friday, 24 July 2015

What does the law say?

Many readers of my blog will know that I am somewhat opposed to the Continuous Avoider situation and I have written about it on many occasions. I am certainly no friend of the NBTA, even though I believe in many of the things they are doing. They are not Bargees, they are not wanting to be travellers and they do not represent me or many of my CC friends despite what their web page says.

Earlier this year I complained to 38 degrees about the misinformation in that awful petition and they changed some of the wording. They removed the word ‘Eviction’ from the title and removed reference to CRT being a landlord. The OP of the petition then told 38 degrees a few porkies about me to have them change it back again.

I found 19 discrepancies/errors (maybe I am just picky) in the original petition, which has since been increased from its original 186 words by some 692 words under the heading ‘More information’ which is being used to bolster the wording of the petition that is already gives a skewed impression of the situation. With so many changes to the petition I doubt the validity of the signatures. I don’t doubt the proposition that this petition may have been manipulated (10,000 signatures in the first 4 days I think it was).

Having said all that let me ask a question “What does the law say?” We could all bandy about phrases like bona-fide, no return, 48 hours etc, etc, but these are rules, what does the law say. What is a bona-fide journey? In short, in this instance, we could say purposeful journey i.e. going some where for a good reason (I have never been there before, is a good reason).

A good reason could be going to a pub for lunch. Once you have had your lunch you can stay for 14 days (the law only ever mentions 14 days). At the end of your allowable stay you must move (here the law does not say in which direction you must move or even how far). You can conceivably go back the way you came. This also can be a bona-fide journey to maybe another pub for lunch or a cinema to see a film, a B&Q visit for fit out supplies, (the law does not say what constitutes a good reason). Once you have seen the film of your choice or collected the supplies you need there is nothing (in law) stopping you staying for the 14 days the law proscribes. You can repeat the ‘cycle again and again and again as long as you have a good reason (the law DOES say, as passed down recently by a Judge, moving just to avoid penalty is NOT a good reason!)

The Law says 14 days or such time as is deemed necessary in the circumstances (the law does not give BW/CRT the say in this). If you think about it you know your circumstances and are able to judge if you need to stay longer at a given location for lets say a broken arm etc. I stayed a week in Coventry basin over the new year period with flu. The law does not say you have to ask permission from BW/CRT. These days it might be polite to tell them what you are doing, but they do NOT give permission. However if required you will have to convince a judge that your reason was a good one. If you have a proper reason for overstaying then no judge in the country will find against you. Of course flimsey excuses of the order of ‘the dog ate my homework’ will not be acceptable.

So basically the law says ‘14 days’ and ‘good reason’. For those of us that say “Ah but the law was supposed to say ………” I have one thing to offer, ‘What the law says and what you think the law should say are two very different things! The only way to change it is to go back to the law makers and let them have another go at it. In this PC world we live in we might not like the result any more than we like what the law says now. If we want to get angry at someone then get angry at CRT for wasting money on signs that they simply cannot legally enforce!

The law was written in its 1995 form to protect those who were working, had kids at school etc. (you can check this in the Minutes of Evidence of the Select Committees that drafted the 1995 Act). So whilst there are many of us that see CCing as travelling around the country on our epic later life adventure this is NOT what the law says. Much as we may not like it, the LAW trumps the rules.

Now can we please just get on with our boating however we chose to enjoy it, except them speeders who really must slow down!!!


eeyore said...

Excellent post,in my humble opinion your Honour, expressing what I have believed for some time. The vacancy next to me on the top deck of the Clapham Omnibus(1) for a reasonable man has,in my opinion, been filled.

Well done!

(1) attributed to Sir Richard Henn Collins MR

Maffi said...

I tip my hat sir!

Tom and Jan said...

The interesting thing about this subject is the number of boaters who want to place their own interpretation on the term 'bona fide for navigation'.

The problem for them is their interpretation isn't relevant. The Act gives that power to CRT. "the Board may refuse a relevant consent in respect of any vessel unless...." and "the applicant for the relevant consent satisfies the Board..."

Maffi said...

At no point in the law doesn't it give CRT the right to set a distance, which is why they haven't. They will admit this. There is nothing in the law that says you can't turn round and go back. Nor does it say you have to ask permission to 'over stay'. Bona fide and good reason can easily be interchangeable. The important thing is the law was made with workers and parents etc in mind. CRT's interpretation currently seeks to exclude workers and parents etc. With the law written as it is, it is very difficult to break it. To set it in stone CRT need to go back to the lawmakers. This is something they will never do least the law changes in a such way that they cannot manage the system as they see it.

I think were this a Statutory Instrument they could make what ever rules legal and binding as is the case in the 1974 H&S ACT, but it's not, so they can't.

Anonymous said...

Spot on that man.
Having read the above it makes one wonder why there is so much discussion/argument over what is really blindingly simple.
nb Paneke
PS that Sanatogen really works for you doesn't it :)

Malcolm said...

Well put as ever.
I've no doubt someone at CRT monitors your blog, (hello Richard). Maybe they should take you on as a consultant to advise their 'legal' team.