Help - for the former coach passengers
F a i r f o r d C o a c h A c t i o n
This page is for people who were on the coaches. Please also visit our other help page here which has details about how anyone can help the Fairford Coach Action.
Coach Passengers: We recommend that you consider registering a civil claim for damages if you were a coach passenger who was on the coach during the two and a half hour journey to London under police escort. The bulk of passengers are currently pursuing civil claims through Bindmans and Partners (see below). Alternatively, you can pursue your claim without a solicitor.
Previously, a group of more than 80 passengers took forward a group legal action in the form of a Judicial Review under the guidance of Bindmans and Partners (see below). As a separate legal action, any passenger who was detained can pursue a civil claim against the police (see below for more). Even if you don't wish to pursue legal action, you may still wish to recover property that was seized during the searches (see below for more). This property is being held until the finish of the Judicial Review and subsequent appeals. Please click on the following links for details.
PURSUING A CIVIL CASE AGAINST THE POLICE
RECOVERING YOUR PROPERTY (back to top)
If you need to recover your seized property (including: your winter scarves, placards, toy soldiers, weapons-inspector costumes, winter hats), it is probably still being held as evidence until the end of the Judicial Review (and subsequent appeals). This guide should help you to recover it:
1. You write to the police identifying yourself and the property taken and requesting its return (an oral request can also be made, presumably at the relevant police station). The regulations say that the request should be "accompanied by evidence of ownership" so those who have receipts or a search record should send a copy of these with their request. Send requests as recorded delivery and to keep a copy of the letter. Letters should be sent to Gloucestershire's Chief Constable whose details are:
Mr T Brain
The items should be returned provided the police are satisfied as to ownership and that holding the item is not necessary for the purposes of any criminal proceedings. You will be sent a letter that states that you have 28 days to collect the items from the police station in Stroud. You will need to bring the letter with you and collect the item in person. Alternatively, the police have been willing to post the items to people's homes, but this can only be arranged on a case by case basis.
PURSUING A CIVIL CASE AGAINST THE POLICE (back to top)
Anyone who was on the coaches when they were turned back to London has good grounds for seeking damages from the police through a civil case. This can be done individually, or as a group of individuals. The normal outcome of such claims is that passengers will be offered out-of-court settlements.
Be sure to prepare a written testimony as evidence to be used in any future legal action. Hold on to any written testimony, e-mails, letters or diary entries about the experience you had. Hang onto any other evidence you may have - search receipts, photos, videos, sound recording. This evidence may assist your legal action or that of others. It is likely you will have to prove your presence on the coaches using the passenger or police footage available.
Bindmans (our solicitors), are representing the majority of Coach Passengers. You are free to choose a solicitor of your own choice, or even choose to pursue a claim without a solicitor.
Regardless of which solicitors represent you, you will only be able to register a claim for violation of Human Rights until 4 June 2008. After this deadline you will still be able to register a civil claim, but only for false imprisonment. Claims for false imprisonment need to be filed with a Court within six years less one day from when the person affected was imprisoned. If you were on one of the returned coaches, that means issuing your claim by 21 March 2009 at the very latest.
Some sources of information and legal representation have already been suggested to members of the Fairford Coach Action, but there are many others (try to get recommendations off people who have had a good outcomes with legal cases). Good luck!
Tel: 0207 833 4433
Fax: 0207 837 9792
275 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8QF
(John Halford of Bindman and Partners represented us in our High Court judicial review and subsequent appeal. John is keen to represent any detained Fairford Coach passengers who wish to make claims against the police.)
- now at Hickman & Rose (Previously at Hodge Jones & Allen
and Moss and Co)
http://www.hickmanandrose.co.uk (Andrew's profile)
144 Liverpool Road, London N1 1LA
Tel: 020 7700 2211
(Andrew has offered advise and support to coach passengers from the beginning. He already represents some coach passengers in civil suits. He is well known for acting as a solicitor for dozens of public protest cases and comes with recommendation of many Fairford Coach passengers. Andrew has expressed an interest in representing any of the coach passengers.)
& Company Solicitors
2nd Floor Winston House
2 Dollis Park
London N3 1HE
Tel: 020 8343 3678
Fax: 020 8343 4843
(A former solicitor for Birnberg Pierce & Partners, Matthew Gold is keen to represent any detained Fairford Coach passengers who wish to make claims against the police)
0870 1500 100
(Have stated that they would be happy to represent any coach passengers in claims against police.)
Moss and Co.
0800 975 1232
(Have an excellent reputation for successfully representing activists in cases against the police.)
27 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NN
020 7729 1115
(Are nationally known for successful cases against the police.)
Top Floor, 30/31 Islington Green, London N1 8DU
020 7359 5700
(Came with recommendations from one of the coach passengers.)
21 Tabard St., London, SE1 4LA.
T 020 74033888
F 020 74075354
(Gives free advice and lobbies Parliament on proposed legislation and takes test case litigation to domestic and European Courts. Liberty submitted written arguments on our behalf during the Appeal Courts hearing.)
Further advice is available on the net: