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Positive requirements and the new Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction

View profile for Joanne Ellis
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We still await the introduction of the new Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions which can be granted by the County Court under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.  The word was they were expected to come into effect in January 2015, however, it seems we will have to be a little more patient.

The new Injunctions will maintain the current prohibitive clauses we are all used to, for example, “not to cause nuisance or annoyance to someone”.  One of the changes the new Injunctions will introduce is requirement for the person who is subject to the Injunction (the “Respondent”) to do something.  These have been dubbed so called “positive requirements”.  If the conditions for an Injunction are met, a Judge could impose a requirement for a Respondent to attend regular meetings with drug or alcohol services. 

But before a Judge can impose a positive requirement, the Court must be satisfied that there is someone appropriate who can supervise compliance with it.  It will be for the organisation applying for an Injunction (the “Applicant”) to suggest an appropriate person and to persuade the Court that such a person is suitable.

This got me thinking.  Let’s say the Applicant is a Housing Association, there’s a positive requirement in the Injunction for the Respondent to attend weekly meetings with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and a Housing Officer from the Applicant has been identified as the person who needs to ensure compliance with the positive requirement.  Imagine the Respondent has been complying with the prohibitive clauses of their Injunction but they haven’t been attending weekly AA meetings.  By not attending the AA meetings means a breach of the Injunction.  Would the Applicant bring the Respondent back to Court because they haven’t been going to AA meetings? How would a Judge deal with the Respondent in these circumstances? The Respondent otherwise appears to be complying with the Injunction and the Injunction is having its desired effect in preventing anti-social behaviour.  The Respondent cannot be arrested for not complying with a positive requirement, but it is still a breach of their Injunction.  In this example I think the Housing Association would have to think very carefully about whether it would want to enforce this breach of the Injunction both from a financial and resources perspective. 

 I wait with interest as to whether Applicant’s will be requesting positive requirements, and, if appropriate, whether they will be applying to enforce breaches for failure to comply with them.