The Connors lived on a caravan site run by their local council in Leeds. They had been living there for around 15 years so the site had become well-established as their home. Early one morning, the council forcibly evicted the family after accusing the older sons of causing a nuisance. Their caravans were taken from them and not returned until late in the afternoon and their belongings, including medication for their young son, were kept from them for several days. They received no assistance or advice about where they could go. The eviction had a huge impact on the Connors – they were forced to constantly move around, and the stress and uncertainty led to Mrs Connor moving into a house and separating from her husband. The family took legal action against the council and the European Court of Human Rights ruled that their human right to enjoy their home had been breached. The court said that the vulnerable position of gypsies as a minority group means that special consideration should be given to meet their needs and different lifestyles. The government changed the law shortly afterwards so gypsies were given more protection from eviction.
Protecting gypsies’ rights to keep their home