As students across the UK take to the streets and start their own occupations in order to highlight austerity cuts, supporters of Occupy London were at the High Court this morning in order to begin their defence against the City of London Corporation’s effort to evict them, potentially violently.
A diverse group of Occupy London’s residents and supporters – who have come together in St Paul’s Churchyard to challenge social and economic inequality in London, the UK and beyond – gathered in a packed courtroom.
Overseen by Judge Alan Wilkie, Occupy London’s barrister John Cooper QC argued that Occupy London required time in order to prepare a full defence to the allegations put forward by the City of London Corporation in their complex 88-page legal bundle. Judge Alan Wilkie accepted that this was the case and directed a timetable that represents a compromise between what each side was asking for.
The full hearing will take place in the High Court on the afternoon of Monday 19th December. The hearing is expected to take three or four days, with judgement possibly deferred for a few days after that.
Ronan McNern, supporter of Occupy London commented: “This is a positive result for Occupy London. Today the Corporation was trying to push for an unreasonable timeframe for court proceedings. It is clear that when they temporarily ‘paused’ their legal action, what that actually meant was that they were still going ahead with it – much as Andrew Lansley did with the NHS Welfare and Reform Bill.
“While the corporation is worried about this little piece of land, we are concerned about what’s happening in society and creating something better. We say to the Corporation, it is time to talk about the real issues. Time to talk about the growing inequalities so evident in our society after the banking crisis. The Corporation has played a role in this, but it can also be part of the solution. That is the real social need. Why are they so scared of dialogue?”
 Corporation of London legal documentation: http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/E323B324-E7F3-471B-B3C5-BC5C2F7F6625/0/MC_ProceedingsBundle.pdf