Runnymede Eco-Village in Epic Court Battle – Sept 2015


Runnymede Eco-Village is one of those land squats in England and Wales, which ecological communities have developed by occupying unused or threatened countryside. Established in 2012, Runnymede has held its ground, stopping the development of the site, which is of historical importance, with links to the Magna Carta – Britain’s only written constitution. In Runnymede’s own words:

“Runnymede Eco-Village was founded in 2012 by a group of land activists known as the Diggers. They modelled themselves after Gerald Winstanley and the 1649 Diggers who had attempted to settle open, free, self-sustaining communities on the common lands of Britain during the English Civil War […]After squatting and being moved on from several pieces of land, the group came upon and settled the disused former Brunel University campus, creating Runnymede Eco-Village. […] Despite eviction threats and an on going legal process to remove the community from the land, the village has remained and will soon mark its third year anniversary on the 11th of June, 2015.” About – Runnymede Eco-Village


Now, having celebrated its Third Year with a summer festival, Runnymede is in court, making a constitutional case for why they should remain in occupation. Like all possession cases, the law is rigged in favour of the title holders (in this case an offshore developer), acting in the interests of that sacred cow, private property. However, the legal team for Runnymede are putting together a bold case, that references a whole gamut of law (common, European and Constitutional), that goes to the heart of ancient land rights during this period of modern enclosure. Below, you can find the following regarding their case:


  • Press Release – “Historic Appeal Case Could Set Precedent for Right to Low-Impact Living”
  • Skeleton Legal Argument (6 pages) – Scribd
  • Fuller Legal Argument with Case Law and Precedents

SQUASH is behind any case that will establish legal rights and precedent for occupations and squatting, and we wish Runnymede the best of luck in their legal case. If you can support in any way (such help with the legal arguments, putting the story out far and wide, getting media attention or anything else) do it, or get in touch with Runnymede:



TWITTER: @freetheland


Press Release


  • Runnymede eco-village High Court eviction appeal starts Thursday
  • Right to subsistence enshrined in Magna Carta companion Charter of the Forest
  • Eviction granted to luxury property developers on exact day of 800th anniversary of Magna Carta
  • Case supported by constitutional experts
  • Eco-village, Occupy Democracy and allies call for citizen-led constitutional convention

Runnymede eco-village are appealing against their eviction at the Royal Courts of Justice in an historic case that starts 10am, Thursday 10th September and could set a precedent for the right to low-impact living on disused land.

An eviction order was granted to luxury property developers Orchid Runnymede Ltd on June 15th – the exact day of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta [2]. At the time of the hearing the eco-village in collaboration with Occupy Democracy was holding a Festival of Democracy which the authorities kept members of the public away from by imposing a five mile exclusion zone [3].

Mr Justice Knowles, adjourning the case prior to this appeal hearing, suggested the High Court did not take into account many of the arguments the eco-village residents put forward [4]. He recognised the powerful symbolism of the land and the competing interests in this “exceptional” case, noting;

“The exceptional location and the history associated with the site, and the competing and directly differing interests – one seeking possession of ancient forest for development and the other side seeking to remain on a site occupied for three years.”

He further recognised;

“One of the criticisms of the applicants was although the judge dealt with some issues, such as licensing matters, other issues were dealt with either not at all, or hardly at all.” 

The appellants now have the opportunity to argue, amongst other things, that the Magna Carta and its companion Charter of the Forest gives ordinary people the right to subsist on unused land. Other arguments relate to common law, proportionality, sustainability and human rights [5].

This historic appeal case has the potential set a precedent over access to disused and wasteland for the purposes of growing food and the creating of low-impact off-grid homes.

Eco-village representative and appellant Phoenix Rainbow said:

“This historic appeal case will raise awareness of the erosion of our civil liberties, rights to a fair trial, access to land, the Magna Carta, Charter of the Forest and common law. Whatever the outcome of the trial the Eco-village, Occupy Democracy and allied groups will continue to push for a citizen-led constitutional convention as our democracy is facing a clear crisis.”

Last month Caroline Lucas MP called on Jeremy Corbyn MP to call for a citizen-led constitutional convention should he become leader of the Labour Party on 12th September [6].


A number of constitutional experts are lending their support to the case including founder Anthony Barnett and Professor Guy Standing of University of London whose books include A Precariat Charter.

Barnett said:

“Once again Runnymede is witnessing a historic confrontation, as the Court of Appeal considers the case of the eco-village settled in the woods above the meadow where the Magna Carta was sealed versus luxury property speculators registered in the Isle of Man, seeking to expel them and enclose the woods.

The developers aim to dissolve history for short-term profit by privatising access to the woods while the eco-settlers claim its leafy spaces for the common good, in a tradition once protected by the Charter of the Forests that accompanied the more famous ‘Greater’ Charter of 1215. We can be confident that if not now in today’s courts then later in tomorrow’s the rights to the commons will be recognised and the woods of Runnymede will become an open space.”

Standing said:

“There is cultural and economic substance in this case. Britain has a long proud tradition of defending “the commons”, giving our lower-income citizens free access to public land for subsistence, habitation and the “right to roam” as enshrined in the Charter of the Forest of 1217.

“Today we are at a crisis point of accelerating commodification of the commons, which is eroding our heritage. In this symbolic case, on the land above where the Charter of Liberties was drawn up in 1215, the plan is to turn it over to private property developers to sell, in all probability, to rich foreigners. It was planned for parts of Sherwood Forest, until public protests forced a change of mind. Runnymede is as significant a part of the commons. Please keep it public and part of the commons.”



Notes to editors:

[1]  Occupy Democracy is a social movement for democracy free from corporate influence that works for people and planet. We formed in March 2014 as a working group of Occupy London. Working by consensus decision-making, we have a safer spaces policy and are dedicated to non-violence. Our six core demands can be read here:




[5]  The full skeleton legal argument is available on request.

[6]]. The Green Party MP said: “A convention has the potential to energise even more people than your leadership campaign, or the Green surge, and to inspire the kind of feeling across the UK that swept Scotland in 2014.”

Assemblies for Democracy [] are organising an event in London on 14th November featuring John McDonnell MP with a view to holding a constitutional convention in Spring 2016.

Skeleton Argument

Runnymede Skeleton Argument

Full Legal Argument and Sources


At The Court of Appeal

Case Number: QB/20150285 

Peter Phoenix  – Appelant vs Orchid Runnymede Ltd Respondent

Skeleton argument of Peter Phoenix 28/08/15

Note of submissions and legal authorities.


Legal arguments

  1. We believe Judge Lydiard erred in law and procedure.

That the decision was fundamentally wrong in that he did not address, or mention in his reasons,judgement or summary, the substantive legal points and matters of constitutional law that we raised.

As this case brings up substantive points of constitutional law we would request to be granted a full trial before the Master of the Rolls.

The proportionality of our rights and arguments in relation to the claimed property rights of the claimant have not been assessed and rendered in the Judgement.This is an error in procedu

  1. Proportionality Legal argument  TF1

Proportionality is supposed to be about establishing an “an assessment of the balance between interests and objectives”  What seems to have happened in this case is a very narrow definition of what that balance is and how it is defined. At its heart the judgement resulted from defining the opposing interest as that between a landowner and a trespasser. The landowner has a more or less absolute right “The fact that the landowner has a legal right to possession is a very strong factor in support of proportionality. It speaks for itself and needs no further explanation or justification”

2.1 para52 So the whole argument is funnelled down a narrow logical path. It is based on a well trodden narrative of a peaceful landowner like a farmer having to have endure trespassers on his land which interrupt his ability to farm etc

2.3 Indeed Judge Lydiard (JL) does grant at an earlier point in the case that they are not simply trespassers:

para 41

“ I conclude that the defendants do show an arguable case, or at least some of them show an arguable case, that their homes are on the site.  On that footing the defendants can rely on their right to a home under Article 8(1). They can do so notwithstanding that their presence on the site is and always was unlawful( we dispute this) , but that right must be set against the property right of the claimant as landowner which is equally protected by the Convention as I have just explained.  The Court, which is a public authority, must give effect to those rights.”

2.4 However he then goes on to deny those rights by defining the homeowners as trespassers “the protected rights of a private landowner under Article 1 could be interfered with by reason of the defendant’s Article 8 rights where, as in this case, the defendants  are trespassers it was difficult to envisage circumstances where it would have any consequences, that is where Article 8 would have any consequences, and the provision would not be found to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.”  One minute they have a right on the basis they have homes “notwithstanding that their presence on the site is and always was unlawful” the next minute they do not have any rights as the defendants are trespassers. This is a fundamental contradiction in Lydiard’s argument.

2.5 However, the reality here is far different on the one hand we have a a rapacious property development company who want to build luxury flats for a huge profit.  Whose development plans have aroused much opposition and whose financial dealings are historically questionable and on the other an Eco Village whose low impact living coming within the remit of the One Planet Development (OPD) model for sustainable development.(passed by the Welsh assembly and endorsed at both the European and UN level of sustainable development)

This has to be seen within the greater context that if everyone on the earth lived as we do, we would use 2.7 planets worth of resources. Unchecked, this could increase to 3.3 planets worth by 2020.

So what we have here is not proportionality between landowner and trespasser but between a company bent on exploiting the resources for profit with little regard for the environment or ecology – exceeding the ability of us to live on one planet and a group of about 30 people who want to protect their homes and  live in a ecologically sustainable way within the OPD that protects the local environment and ecology.

Balancing the interests within this more accurate view of the parties at dispute interests would give an entirely different outcome.

2.6 Furthermore if we are to consider that not just the 30 people involved here have an interest but that citizens more widely have a right for the earth to be treated in a sustainable way. Recently in Bolivia a law also established the juridical character of Mother Earth as “collective subject of public interest”, to ensure the exercise and protection of her rights. By giving Mother Earth a legal personality, it can, through its representatives (humans), bring an action to defend its rights. Additionally, to say that Mother Earth is of public interest represents a major shift from an anthropocentric perspective to a more Earth community based perspective. This initiative is now being taken to the UN as a “Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on the General Assembly of the United Nation to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations of the world, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting . . ” The clauses in that Declaration would entirely support what the Eco Village is doing and cast considerable questions on the plans of the developers.

2.7  Finally one has to ask what is the objective?  To build a few luxury flats primarily for the purpose of capital investment – that may not even be lived in – in order to secure fat profit for a dubious property investment company.

Or to try and help solve the housing crisis by allowing the Eco Village to provide housing for 30 people who otherwise might find it very hard to find suitable housing and who will then become a further burden on the local coucil’s housing.

2.8 The scope for an order of possession  para 69 in Judges summary.

This also has ramifications for the proportionality argument since the balance of interests is not between two parties both claiming the use of one piece of land but one party claiming use of all of the land (the developers) and the other party which is claiming only the use of a small part of the  at the bottom of the 200ft hill out of sight and earshot of the development at the top of the of the hill from which it is fully detached and separated

The argument at paras 69-70 in the judgement is flawed in two ways.

Lydiard’s argument in essentials

“This does not mean that where trespassers are encamped in part of the wood an order for possession cannot be made against them in respect of the whole of the wood, at least if there are no other occupants of the wood,  just as much as an order for possession may extend to the whole house where the defendant is only trespassing in one room, at least if the rest of the house is empty”

The argument at 69-70 is flawed in at least three senses

1) the eco villagers do have rights they are not trespassers  Lydiard para 41 ” I conclude that the defendants do show an arguable case, or at least some of them show an arguable case, that their homes are on the site.  On that footing the defendants can rely on their right to a home under Article 8(1). They can do so notwithstanding that their presence on the site is and always was unlawful, but that right must be set against the property right of the claimant as landowner which is equally protected by the Convention as I have just explained.  The Court, which is a public authority, must give effect to those rights.”

2)  The use of a wood is not the same as the use of a room in a house where there would be shared entrances and corridors and possibly facilities.

3) while every case is unique with regards to the particular situation at Runneymede it is much closer to the case Secretary of State v Myer [2010] 2 AER 55. where Lord Neuberger ruled against a possession order being made in favour of the claimant. On the grounds that “the defendants have not ejected the claimant from such land” and that the ” land [which] is wholly detached and separated” . In this case the proposed development is outside the wood at the top of a 200ft hill and the Eco village is at the bottom of the hill out of sight and earshot (and also not visible externally from the forest)


3) ECHR Counter arguments 1

3.1 European Court of Human rights ,we believe the judge was incorrect and erred on our European Court of human rights arguments.

The manner and form of the protest in this iconic location are of the utmost importance. We believe he erred and was not balanced or proportionate. We believe proportionality was not properly taken into account. That a proportionality test must be applied to this exceptional historic case.

3.2)  Reference ECHR Articles 8,10 and 11

Also with reference to the issues raised under articles 39 and 61 of the Magna Carta raised below.

3.3)  We believe we were not given a fair trial on equal footing. No legal aid

3.4)  Judge Lydiard erred in law as he accepted Article 8 Right To A Home was engaged – as well as Articles 10 and 11. Rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly,to protest over loss of civil liberties, Rights to a fair trial and Rights to shelter were also engaged.

3.5 )  We dispute his judgement on ECHR ruling Birmingham vs Lloyd as we have exceptional circumstances.

3.6)  We feel this case is exceptional and extreme circumstances that may temporarily affect Article 1 (Rights to property)) due to iconic and historic nature of the case and the place.

3.7)  Judgement counter argument 1 FD

Response to judge’s summary, Orchid Runnymede vs James Hampson & ORS:

3.8)  ECHR Argument 1

On 15th June 2015 Judge Lydiard referred in his findings (paragraph 39) to Human Rights’ Article 8 (1). He acknowledges that in his judgement we, the defendants, “do show an arguable case” that we have homes on the site and that “there is enough evidence to raise real factual question which (he) could not resolve at a summary hearing”. As has been documented earlier in this case, the site in question currently houses 5 families, including 6 children.

3.9)  The occupiers made the deliberate and conscious decision to live in a self-sustaining manner, off-grid and in harmony with the natural habitat. Although this is not an especially easy or convenient lifestyle, we consider it a viable response to both the climate and the housing crisis. The eco-village provides low impact, sustainable social housing and offers additional value at a community level by providing education and events for people outside the immediate eco-community. The site also positions itself within the planning guidelines set out by One Planet Development which fulfils UN Millennium Development Goals at the EU level. If we lose our homes it is going to be a very real struggle – especially for the families with children – to adjust to the alternative, which is seeking temporary shelter with friends, hostels and the already stretched waiting lists for council housing. Especially now the right to shelter/squat in residential buildings has been criminalised.

3.10)  We note Judge Lydiard’s observation (paragraph 59) that with regards to setting up homes on the site, our occupation was always precarious. We would like to draw the court’s attention, for the purpose of comparison, to APPENDIX WIKIPEDIA PAGE – to the 491 Gallery in Leytonstone.

This was a squatted social centre that – on an unofficial agreement with owners, TFL – remained open from 2001 – 2013. Incidentally even after the closure of the site, their gardens won Best Community Garden in London 2013. We highlight this point to demonstrate that whilst occupying land can be precarious, land is often left empty and disused for many years and can be put to demonstrable good use during that time.

3.11)  We also acknowledge that whilst Article 8 (1) offers us, the defendants, a level of protection, under the same law the claimants are also entitled to protection. This brings us to the issue of the proportionality test, the application of which we consider to be highly appropriate in this case.

3.12)  In paragraph 45, Judge Lydiard states that “the justifications for interference with the exercise of the Article 8(1) right is for the protection of the rights of others” and suggests that “perhaps no rights more obvious than the owners of the land”. Ordinarily this point is straightforward and hard to object with. However at paragraph 48, Judge Lydiard refers to Lord Hope (33) who highlights that the duty of the court is to “consider  whether  the  making  of  a  possession  order  is proportionate if the issue has been raised by the occupier and it has crossed the high threshold of being seriously arguable.”

3.13)  It is difficult without a legal background or legal representation to produce a clear outline of what constitutes ‘seriously arguable’, but we do insist that this high threshold has been crossed. Lord Hope goes on to say that “the question  will  then  be  whether  making  an  order  for the occupier’s  eviction  is  a  proportionate  means  of  achieving  a legitimate aim.” This brings us back to Article 8 (2):

3.14)  ”There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right (1) except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country for the prevention of disorder or  crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedom of others.”

3.15)  The term ‘national security’ is not specifically defined by UK or European law, although the Oxford Dictionary defines ‘security’ as “the state of being free from danger or threat”. We therefore strongly assert that keeping land of historical, political and social significance available to the public is a matter of national security, and that the intended development of the land by the Royalton Group is a direct threat to the site.

Royalton advertise their reputation for “building the very best properties in the most exclusive locations”. At the risk of highlighting the obvious, ‘exclusive’ means that access to the site post-development will heavily restrict public access.

In fact Royalton has stated intention to entirely fence off and enclose the Runnymede woods.

3.16)  To develop this argument further, under Article 8 (2) the protection of morals and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others surely lend themselves directly to our argument that evicting the occupiers and allowing Royalton to develop this land for significant private gain is disproportionate and in our respectful opinion, immoral.

The principles of right and wrong and standards of behaviour must be carefully examined when assessing whether it is necessary for the public authority that is this court to interfere with Article 1 of Protocol 1 in favour of the occupiers remaining at the Runnymede site.

3.17)  On the National Trust website itself there is a video about the significance of Runnymede and the fight to protect the site from developers in the 20th Century. In 1814 the Egham Enclosure Act protected Runnymede as an open space and in 1921 there was a massive public outcry when Prime Minister David Lloyd George of the Liberal-Conservative coalition tried to auction Runnymede to raise funds for the treasury. This was considered morally abhorrent by the public and the plans were stopped. Given that the rural, low impact and sustainable way of life currently demonstrated by occupiers at Runnymede is under threat because of proposals to develop land into houses that sell for between £5-10 million per property, in all likelihood the general public will again perceive that it is unjust and immoral to allow corporate financial gain to triumph over basic public and engagement with such an exceptional site.

3.18)  Perhaps it is prudent to address paragraph 66 by Judge Lydiard who states should the development by Royalton go ahead, there is “no arguable case that evicting the defendants would amount to a blanket ban (on the area) or a negation of the right to free speech or peaceful assembly”. We would like to assert that allowing for public access and engagement with privately owned land and elite property development is at direct conflict with Royalton’s selling point which is to build ‘exclusive’ properties and luxury homes.

3.19)  We note that at paragraph 49, Judge Lydiard refers to Birmingham City Council vs Lloyd (2012) where Lord Neuberger sites Lord Phillips (92 in Powell) that for the court to consider a proportionality argument the circumstances should be ‘highly exceptional’.

3.20 )  Considering that this is not a typical land dispute over a field or wood, but an area described by National Heritage as ‘the birthplace of modern democracy’, it is not an exaggerated claim that the circumstances are highly exceptional. Mr Justice Knowles also recognised this and the powerful symbolism of competing interests when he granted the adjournment and announced that “given the exceptional location and the history associated with [Runnymede & Coppers Hill Coppice}, and the competing and directly differing interests – one seeking possession on ancient forest (for private development) and the other seeking to remain on a site occupied for three years [and to continue to subsist in common from the land].”

3.21)  The Magna Carta went into new territory because it was the first document that charted the limits to a monarch’s will. We are in a similar situation today where we face a new and unfettered tyranny namely corporate profit that seeks to monetise every aspect of life so nothing has a value outside of itself. As in 1215 we have to recognise there are other stakeholders and things that should be valued for their intrinsic worth beyond any monetary value, the stability of the biosphere, proaction of the environment, sustainable use of resources, community and wellbeing – especially in an area of outstanding historic and ecological significance.


4)  ECHR and associated arguments 2 PP

ECHR Arguments

4.1)  para 38 article 1 “No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject  to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.”

4.2)  This case is massively in the public interest ,with major local campaigns to save the site in 1921, 1938, 2007, 2012-2015.

This is a very historic site, possibly of the sealing of the Magna Carta at the Oak tree by an old priory at the top of the hill,under the old house. A site of the old Anglo Saxon Wittan or parliament,the woods next to the Runnymede memorial should be preserved for all future generations to walk in, not be enclosed for private use/development and the removal of a valuable Deer run and shrinking wildlife habitat. (See Anglo Saxon Wittan info in appendix)

4.3) “shall not however in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with a general interest.”
This case is of massive general interest and national and international media interest

4.4)   para 41? “However, in my judgment there is enough evidence to raise real factual questions which I could not resolve at a summary hearing.  I conclude that the defendants do show an arguable case, or at least some of them show an arguable case, that their homes are on the site.”

4.5) On that footing the defendants can rely on their right to a home under Article 8(1).

“the most extraordinarily exceptional circumstances.”
Runnymede historic woodlands once walked in by King John 1 ,the Barons and an army of common people calling for social change. As well as a site of the Anglo Saxon Wittan, and possible site of the oak tree where the Magna Carta was sealed . As well as an exceptional low impact off grid eco village community do amount to this. exceptional circumstance.

4.6)  para 49 From that I draw the point that where the defendant has never been more than a trespasser, and seeks to invoke Article 8 – we assert we are licencees invoking article 8, 10,11 and our ancient inalienable rights guaranteed by Alfreds/saxon law the Magna Carta and Forest charter.
4.7) These exceptional and extraordinary circumstances somewhat level the gradient of the uphill describes by Justice Neuberger. Rights our digger and leveller forefathers fought a long civil war over.
4.8)  para 50 “In paragraph 23 of Sir Alan Ward’s Judgment he refers to Thurrock Borough Council v West.  In paragraph 29 Everton LJ’s Judgment in that case was to this effect:

“Sixthly, an Article 8 defence on the grounds of lack of proportionality must be pleaded and sufficiently particularised to show that it reaches the high threshold of being seriously arguable.” “Miss Stacey has relied quite correctly on this. In dealing with this aspect it would not be appropriate to apply a highly technical approach to defendants who are not legally represented. All the same, what it points to is the need to scrutinise what is actually said on the part of the defendants to see whether it is said in sufficient detail, and with sufficient cogency, to pass the rather stern threshold tests to which I have referred.”
4.9) We unrepresented due to our governments removal of legal aid : will do our best representing ourselves on unequal footing to plead and particularise this complex,exceptional ,seriously arguable,and historic case of constitutional law.

Presenting  proportionality arguments  to the best of our limited legal knowledge.

5)  para 52  Secondly, that proportionality extends to the question of whether a trespasser can be given some time. Thirdly, whether proportionality might so demand is something that will occur only in the most exceptional case.

5.1) We assert we are licencees and proportionality should give us time to continue negotiations with the help of a group such as Shared Assets to enter into further arbitration/negotiation.

5.2) We have further offered up tp £400,000 for the site of Runnymede woods.

5.3) The judge in the Barnet lower court when we were involved in saving the Friern Barnet library , after a 3 month case with 2 hearings made an order that  possession could be given back in 2 months time at the end of jan.

But that during that time the council should continue dialogue and negotiation with the local campaign groups . Who had listed the library as an asset of community value.

This proportionate period of grace led to the set up of a Community interest company with local trustees and the library being saved as a volunteer run facility with some funding and support from the council.

5.4) Similarly in this case we have begun the process of applying for national heritage status for the historic Runnymede woods. and seek proportionate time To be given to further arbitration and negotiation,towards a community land trust for Runnymede woods eco village, to recieve national heritage status.

Hoping to create a sustainable eco village model for future generations to learn about low impact and off grid living.

ECHR end—————-


5.5) Skeletal Argument -Sustainable Development (based on the Commons)

The law in England has never remained static. It needs to take into account new circumstances – we are now living as though we have access to the resources of three planets.

We are also facing a huge housing crisis in the UK.

Therefore we need to start living within the planning guidelines such as the One Planet Development the Welsh Assembly.

The eco village begins in its own small way  to answer both these problems. It provides social housing in a low impact and sustainable way and It also gives additional social value providing education for people outside its own community. It puts on events for families and small festivals and creates events for discussions and talks.

What the situation needs is a group like Shared assets who can set out structures that will engender trust and co-operation between the community using the land, the landowners, neighbours and the community at large and the local council to create a situation in which all can benefit

One Planet Development  fulfils UN Millennium Development Goals and at the European Union (EU) level, the renewal of the EU Sustainable Development strategy2 in 2006

” homes may be built on rural land (normally opposed) provided that the owners undertake land-based activities involving resources grown, reared or occurring naturally on the site, which enable them to “provide for the minimum needs of the inhabitants in terms of income, food, energy and waste assimilation over a period of no more than five years from the commencement of work on the site”.

Four of nine planetary boundaries (systems that make human life on the planet possible) have now been crossed as a result of human activity. A boundary for human changes to land systems needs to reflect not just the absolute quantity of land, but also its function, quality and spatial distribution. Forests play a particularly important role in controlling the linked dynamics of land use and climate, and is the focus of the boundary for land system change.

The Magna Carta went into new territory because it was the first document that charted the limits to a monarchs will. We are in similar situation today where we face a new and unfettered tyranny namely profit that seeks to monetise every aspect of life so nothing has a value outside of itself. As in 1215 we have to recognise there are other stakeholders and things that should be valued for their intrinsic worth beyond any monetary value, the stability of the biosphere, protection of the environment, sustainable use of resources, community and wellbeing especially in an area of outstanding historic and ecological significance.


6)  Ancient natural law and common law argument.

6.1) Para 55 we take great exception to Judge Lydiards summary and minimal removal of our ancient and inalienable rights granted by previous Alfreds  Saxon laws, and Ancient common law rights ref. 1189 edict of Richard 1 Lex Non Scripta

6.2) The Magna Carta  and Forest Charter and common law, a massive body of constitutional and common law, summed up as “Short fact” in the following quote .

6.3)  “I have also taken account of various points that have been made based on points from the further reaches of our English legal history such as grants made by Richard II to the common folk and so on.

The short fact here is that the law I have to apply is that to be found in the European Convention of Human Rights as enacted in our law by the Human Rights Act 1998 and as then applied to local English conditions by a substantial chain of case law setting out very clear principles which I have just summarised.”

6.4) With this one paragraph the judge on the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta unjustly and arbitrarily ignores and wipes away our arguments so eloquently put on the Magna Carta ,Forest Charter and Common law/natural law rights.

This caused great consternation within the court room.And furthermore is one of the deciding factors in launching this appeal.

6.5) We have rights ancient and inalienable and are not just bound by European law, but hold these previous rights and laws of the people of these isles, as sacro sanct, agreements of the people , upheld by our temporal and spiritual leaders down through time.

This is  a fundamental issue within this historic,exceptional case of constitutional law.That should be heard before the Master of the Rolls or the highest court in the land. To determine the nature of our rights from previous british ,ancient and common law.

As it relates to the more recent european law,sometimes arbitrarily and unjustly imposed upon our more ancient inalienable natural and common law .Rights to shelter subsist and preserve our freedoms and ways of life.

6.6) para 56 “What is necessary is that the defendants show that they have at this stage a strongly arguable case, that there are the most exceptional of circumstances that would justify denying the landowner the right to  recover his land.”

We assert  most strongly that we do have a strongly arguable case,in fact the judge acknowledges this at points.

We say,that there are the there are the most exceptional of circumstances that would justify denying the landowner the right to  recover his land.


7)  Health and safety argument

7.1) Para 58 We most strongly refute many of Mr Dodds arguments over health and safety and heavy plant.As the developers for the last months have continued all their operations unhindered behind a secure perimeter fence around the works site ,thus no one can access where heavy plant is moving around.

7.2) para 60 we refute “Those points are also well made and I rely on those also, but unquestionably the main factor here is the fact that this is a private landowner recovering possession from persons who are and have always been trespassers.”

As we assert we are licencees with verbal, implied, and written (emails) licence.

That has existed for a number of years .This licence  has still not been formerly cancelled as required by GLC vs Jenkins 1975.

7.3)  We intentionally set up this community and called it Runnymede eco village as it was a site of great historic, national importance.

That would raise issues of national importance and  exceptional circumstance.Such as land rights and civil liberties.

7.4) The issues Judge Lydiard sums up in para 62 as

“In that connection, in the defence’s witness statements, and oral submission, various causes were mentioned, civil liberties, the erosion of rights, the uneven distribution of land, land rights, the campaign against the criminalisation of squatters and the increase, as the defendants see it, of detention without trial.”

7.5) When people are arrested and held without trial,or legal representation.When sheltering in empty residential buildings becomes a crime, and homeless people are fined for sleeping rough and then threatened with imprisonment. These are arbitrary and unjust laws that must and are being challenged.

In fact the criminalisation of residential squatting is already proving unworkable as it has lead to mass housing protest occupations of residential houses and estates,such as the Aylesbury estate and the Sweets Way Estates in London.

After many centuries of enclosure acts and the removal of common land and rights.As well as the dismantling of our welfare state.We as a nation need to question the unfair and unsustainable land distribution in the country.0.68% own 75% of the land.

7.6) We feel that a private corporation that claims to own ,this most historic national heritage woodland has a case to answer.Whereby we have rights to occupy,and raise issues of freedom of expression, assembly and civil liberties.Before this historic wood will be forever lost to the nation behind a wall of enclosure for private profit. Where once our nation struggled for rights and civil liberties for all,to create a document that has become recognised world wide,and at a place known as the birthplace of democracy. We feel our rights should be proportionally upheld and time given for the nation to decide the future of this most ancient and historic place,for the good of all future generations.

7.7) This place that we hope will hold a Citizen Led Constitutional Convention of equal magnitude, a Magna Carta for the 21st century, that no private corporation should be allowed to remove and enclose,such a valuable piece of national heritage as Runnymede woods,site of the old Anglo saxon Wittan or parliament.

7.8) Para 63 Does the alleged landowner, whose route of title in taking away land left to the education of the nation, we question. Have the right to enclose Runnymede wood. That we assert most strongly should be a national heritage site.

7.9) A similar attempt to sell off Runnymede meadows in 1923 was met with a massive public campaign led by the first woman barrister against the sale of lot 8 buy the liberal-conservative government.

Why should the sale of Runnymede woods in 2015, barely 200 ft from the magna Carta memorial not be met with a similar public outcry and occupation. We respectfully ask the court to note that Runnymede meadow was saved by public aclaim. We hope in all proportionality that time is granted for a full historical,ecological,political,social and legal appraisal of this world heritage site be granted.

This is not any old piece of woodland ,but stands at the heart of our political ,cultural and historical heritage.A place that has inspired millions globally.The birth place of the Magna Carta and Forest Charter, the so called birthplace of democracy.

7.10) So we assert that at this exceptional historic and iconic location our article 10 and 11 rights do affect article 1 rights to property. Say for example a property developer bought Parliament square or Trafalgar square  and wished to build 50 luxury flats.  Possibly equally iconic locations,would the publics article 10/11 rights affect the property developers article 1 rights to property. In fact it is hard to think of a more iconic ,historic site in this nation than the Runnymede woods Magna Carta site.With the possible exception of Stone Henge.

7.11)Proportionality  without a doubt must be applied,in this unique world heritage site.

7.12) Para 64 The School of Oriental and African Studies v Persons Unknown

“The more substantial point is that the Tabernacle case was simply not concerned with a claim by a private landowner asserting its own protective rights to land.  It was a judicial review of by-laws.”

“Then it was said that further witnesses could be called to address such factual matters as damage that may have been caused on the development site or not. Also expert evidence on matters such as the history of the site, the history of Magna Carta, the links between Magna Carta, and the site, and to strengthen the case on its alleged iconic significance, and to justify various arguments based on Codes of the Forest and other ancient law which the defendants considered would advance their case.”

“I am sure that a great deal of that would be extremely interesting but there are two relevant points here.  The first is that for the reasons that I have explained the law that I have to apply is fairly readily accessible in fairly recent decisions  of senior Courts of England and Wales.  That is the task I have undertaken. This background material is not going to affect any of that.”

7.13) The Court would not exclude that a positive obligation could arise for the State to protect the enjoyment of Convention rights by regulating property rights. This exceptional case may mean that the state has to protect convention rights over the is historic iconic location by regulating article 1 property rights  over the 25 acres of the historic Runnymede woodland.

That it should be a community land trust and national heritage site,for the enjoyment of freedom of assembly and expression so long campaigned for by successive generations.

7.14) Para 66 We counter “”There is no arguable case that evicting the defendants would amount to a blanket ban or a negation of the right to free speech or peaceful assembly.”

7.14.1) as the developers plan to fully enclose and privatise this historic wood,which has long had ,people gathering,public footpaths, dog walking and deer runs through it. This would prevent any peaceful assembly and free expression. The site lies within 200ft of the Magna Carta memorial. Historically encompassing the area of the gathering of both sides in the Runnymede Magna Carta area. With a fully enclosed privatised woodland for a select exclusive few.

7.15) We dispute judge lydiards assertion in para 67 “ It might be said that the connection between the eco village and Magna Carta is for a number of reasons more tenuous than that between the peace camp and Aldermaston,”

As Professor of History, Justin Champion from Royal Holloway University explained to us in early meetings to discuss land rights and civil liberties at the Magna Carta memorial : “there was as well as the Lords and Barons,an army of 10-20,000 ordinary folk camped around the meadows and woods of Runnymede.” This massive number of people and troops would have set up camp and roamed across the meadows and woodland surrounding the agreed meeting place for the negotiations between King John and the Barons.The Magna Carta and particularly the forest charter as well as the Barons claim for a Charter of Liberties,were the rising up of people against the unjust and arbitrary Norman laws. Many saxon subjects unhappy with 150 years of cruel and unusual punishments for feeding their families from the forest. Demanding a return of some of the more just and equitable King Alfred’s saxon laws, particularly with regard to common rights to land, forests and sharing the commonwealth of the earth. This is some of the untold story of the Magna Carta
7.15) Judge Lydiard said “The more substantial point is that the Tabernacle case was simply not concerned with a claim by a private landowner asserting its own protective rights to land.  It was a judicial review of by-laws.”

7.16) This case calls for a judicial and constitutional review of our laws, and the interaction between ancient inalienable rights of common and natural law and European law.

7.17) Para 68 We feel judge Lydiard erred in law because there is arguable defence based on Article 10 or Article 11.

7.18) We take great exception to the ignoring of our arguments under Magna Carta ,Forest Charter and Common law rights in paragraphs 76-77 “Then it was said that further witnesses could be called to address such factual matters as damage that may have been caused on the development site or not. Also expert evidence on matters such as the history of the site, the history of Magna Carta, the links between Magna Carta, and the site, and to strengthen the case on its alleged iconic significance, and to justify various arguments based on Codes of the Forest and other ancient law which the defendants considered would advance their case.”

“I am sure that a great deal of that would be extremely interesting but there are two relevant points here.  The first is that for the reasons that I have explained the law that I have to apply is fairly readily accessible in fairly recent decisions  of senior Courts of England and Wales.  That is the task I have undertaken. This background material is not going to affect any of that.”

7.19) The Magna Carta ands Forest Charter are founding documents of our British so called unwritten constitution and cannot be dismissed and over ridden as merely background material. This comment we felt was insulting to the struggle for rights and freedoms of many generations. There was uproar in the court. We felt the judge was about to finish his judgement by dismissing many of our arguments of british constitutional law as mere background material, to the modern laws of Europe. We feel most strongly that our arguments under ancient inalienable and fundamental rights of  Magna Carta,forest Charter and Common law must be treated with equal weight to European law. As they still stand within British law as constitutional laws of laws.
7.20) Para 80 (There then followed submissions) why were these submissions not included in the transcript
They were our objections to the judges passing over of the Magna Carta, Forest charter and common/natural law arguments.


8) Constitutional law

8.1) These are matters of weighty constitutional law  that cannot be dismissed as minor background material.We hope that the appeal court can consider these major issues and come to a balanced,fair and proportionate decision,for the benefit of all future generations.


9) License argument

9.1) We believe that the judge erred in his ruling on our license we rely on GLC vs versus Jenkins 1975

9.1.1) JL Paragraph 21 The grounds of defence put forward fall under two heads, those based on licence and those based on the Human Rights Act.

9.1.2) Judge Lydiard in fact was presented with a defence of 5 heads the additional 3 being defences under the Magna Carta, Forest Charter, and Common Law

9.2) JL Para 22 “Mr. Dodd was also a party to this agreement, but he did not take up his current position until sometime after the occupation started, about a year after the licence agreement is supposed to have been concluded and in any case, even if he was a party to any conversation, it does not change the nature of the conversation.”

9.3) The licence was not concluded earlier,but was an ongoing and evolving relationship and negotiation. Dodd was an estates manager for ORL and perfectly capable as a senior rep of the company of granting us a licence which he did.

Further entering into close negotiation and commercial contract over a £300,000 bid to buy the site for a Community Land Trust.

Proven by a number of meeting ,as well as the pub meeting arranged by Mr Dodd, a few days before the first court case in May.

Various witness statements and email traffic.

Witness Hannah Goodsirs statement.

The offer was under consideration for 5 weeks. Which we assert most robustly is sign of licence and negotiation.Answer machine messages providable as evidence.

9.4) Judge Lydiard (JL) “In that context to say something along the lines of “stay in the woods and keep out of the buildings” is likely to mean that the squatters will not be physically interfered with if they stayed in the woods provided that they do not go into the buildings or  stray on to the development area.Even if Mr. Dodd was a party to one of these conversations that does not change the nature of the discussion.”

9.5) We assert he was part of numerous conversations, he seemed quite on side and supportive,meetings in the village, arranged pub meeting negotiation, phone conversations and answer messages,not just one conversation, as JL puts it.

9.6) para 23 “It is true to say, as Counsel, Miss Stacey, very fairly accepted that there is a potential element of factual dispute here and it is right that at a summary hearing I should be cautious about leaping to factual conclusions.”

“However, it seems to me that a large part of this issue is not about what happened, or what was said, but rather about the correct characterisation of what had been agreed, having regard to the factual evidence about what had taken place.”

We claim  the judge was not cautious and did jump to factual conclusions.We feel what happened and what was said was very important to the determination of our licence.

9.7) JL para 26  “In an eloquent address to the Court this afternoon Miss Dobel put it this way. She said that the agreement was that “we would not be disturbed if we stayed in the wood”. In my judgment that probably captures it. I have absolutely no doubt that there was no conferring of a legal right and I do not think there is any arguable defence to that effect.

9.8) Put another way “you stay in the woods and you will not be disturbed” said by security and the site development manager on a number of occasuions,did in fact confer a licence/Legal right to stay.

9.9) “Mr. Dodd denies that there were any negotiations.  He said an offer was made and that he said he would refer it to the claimant.  On the 29th May he emailed to the defendants to say that the claimant had rejected the offer.”

9.10) We dispute this most strongly our evidence before the judge of meetings ,conversations,discussions, emails and answer message clearly point to negotiations back and forth of a complex and commercial nature.

Therefore we had negotiations ongoing for a number of weeks,over a £300,000 bid for 25 acres of land for a Community Land Trust,and a licence over the first court hearing. Up till may 29th thus GLC vs Jenkins is engaged.

We were at that point of the May  trial licencees in negation and therefore not trespassers.

9.11) paragraph 28 “Even if, which I am inclined to doubt, what took place rose to the level of negotiations ,I am quite unable to see why the existence of any such negotiations should give rise to an implied licence or an inference that a licence had been granted.”

9.12) We assert Negotiations over £300,000 are not in the character of -“you are trespassers you must leave immediately”. They show discussions of a commercial nature considered and obviously discussed behind the scenes by Orchid Runnymede over a number of weeks.Why did they even consider the offer, or not turn it down immediately.Why did we have hope over 5 weeks before a negative reply was received.

9.13) Para 31 “Likewise the claimant is hardly likely to do this as the time approaches for the development to get underway as it did in April of this year.  These are simply implausible notions.”

9.14) Why did Gary Dodd Estates Manager arrange a meeting to discuss an arrangement a few days before the court case then? This is fact and not an implausible notion as stated by JL.

10) We assert our rights most robustly under Magna Carta and Forest Charter

(MC and COF)

10.1)  Article 39 MC – Right to a fair trial – the manner and form of our protest by  occupying this iconic location at Runnymede is one of the peaceful ways that we can raise awareness of our governments illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and  support for Rendition and the secret prison complex.

10.2) Which removes UK and International citizens rights to a fair trial and Habeous Corpus, in a most unjust and arbitrary way,that it is the duty of a good citizen to make protest and raise issue with these despotic acts.

Or else Tyrrany,arbitrary and unjust rule  will flourish.

To protest removal of our rights to legal aid by the LASPO Act 2012 which has removed the principle of equal footing before the law and the right to a fair trial.

Where else but at Runnymede this iconic location can the manner and form of our protest be most effective in seeking remedy and redress to rebalance the scales of justice.

10.3)  Article 61 MC -right to seek redress by occupying land, property and castles of the crown or government or a company which obtains its title through the Crown.

To seek redress for unjust and arbitrary laws and actions such as the Laspo act 2012 the removal of our rights to legal aid.

Criminalising the most vulnerable that have been made homeless and landless by the actions of successive governments.

Also our governments criminalising of the homeless and poor by  criminalising right to shelter and squat, in a final unlawful and unjust act of enclosure which seeks to remove some of the last of our common rights to shelter and share the Commonwealth of the earth.

To seek redress and to raise awareness in the media and with the general population of our governments illegal and unlawful wars for resources in iraq and Afghanistan.

To seek redress for the governments removal of Sovereignty from the People,to Europe with The TTIP treaty,secret courts,extraordinary rendition,the creation of a secret prison complex.

10.4) We assert most strongly and  would seek to provide evidence that the 1215/1217 Magna Carta was created through the sovereignty of the people and the 1297 Magna Carta was created by early Parliament.

The 1215 Magna Carta is NON repealable.Because it is a pre parliamentary treaty.

The 1297 MC was an attempt by government to bring the MC into statute so it could be repealed.

Magna Carta 1215 is Constitutional Law and cannot be repealed.

Article 61 Cannot be denied by any court,and it is not denied it is evidential

Reference Daily telegraph 24th March 2001 “Peers petition Queen on Europe”

It was invoked by the Peers of the realm,some descended from the Magna Carta Barons and cannot be denied.

Therefore we assert that the 1215 Magna Carta was created by the sovereign people and all the estates of England, in perpetuity and therefore cannot be removed by any act of parliament.

Thus  all of our rights granted in the Magna Carta and Forest Charter as sovereign acts of the people cannot be repealed.

11) We assert our rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights 1688

12) Forest Charter rights

12.1) We assert  strongly that we have rights under the Forest Charter to sustain ourselves from the forest wasteland and the Commons.

These rights are granted in perpetuity. We have rights of tillage ,paneage and estover,as well as rights to common land unlawfully removed by successive governments,councils and corrupt corporations.

That we have access to what we hold in common the wealth of the land. That no one should be deprived of their livelihood. Several villagers gain their livelihood from the forest,the land and the eco village. Also claiming rights as Charcoal burners to remain on the land.

12.1) We seek redress and to reassert our rights to disused land to grow food and create low impact off grid homes.As stated in the diggers 2012 website declaration of the dispossessed.Attached at end of Skeleton argument.

12.2) Forest Charter Legal Argument- JT1

12.3) Runnymede eco – village are continuing an ancient British tradition of  sustaining  themselves by living in common on the land . This right was confirmed in  Charter of the Forest 1217, a companion charter to the Magna Carta (1217) , which emerged out of the Charter of Runnymede ( 1215 ). Both Charters entered statute in 1297.

Whereas the Magna Carter was largely concerned with justice and liberties, the Charter of the Forest was concerned with the ability of society to sustain themselves in the common realm – the introduction to charter to statute in 1297 refers to the  Charter of the Forest as being for the  for the ‘wealth of our realm’.

12.4) The Charter of the Forest was, and remains, vital to the common people as it allows access to the land – both land often classed as waste land and land held in common . It allows common people the ability to forage from the land for