As regular visitors- and my SiteMeter reveals there are a few- to this blog know, I have serious criticisms of these Orders. They are becoming no more than “vigilante training”.
You can find a list of some of the more unusual examples of these orders at
But there is an example in this week’s Private Eye.
“ At 9pm on 29th October 2004, police served Susan Hartless with an anti-social behaviour order, saying three and her four children had to leave their home immediately.
The order was a complete surprise: the family knew nothing about ant ASBO hearing and had not been warned about the behaviour of anyone in the family.
Last week the high court ruled that the family could stay in their home in Liphook, Hampshire, so long as they were on their best behaviour.
Moat Housing Association used consultancy firm Community Assist to take out the ASBO and the possession order against Ms Hartless, her partner Carl Harris (who was staying elsewhere on the day of the eviction but normally lives with the family) and their children, aged 14, nine, eight and seven,
Luckily for the family the police did not think that chucking the family on to the street that evening was a great idea and so gave them until the morning to leave. Overnight Ms Hartless found a solicitor who contacted a high court judge at 1.30 a m to get the order put on hold.
At the High Court this month, Lord Justice Brooke found that most of the evidence gathered from neighbours and presented at the ASBO hearing by Community Assist boss Angus Macdonald was hearsay, and much of it lumped the Hartless family in with a different family in the same street, who were also served with an ASBO and evicted last year. The judge said MacDonald gave “statements of the utmost generality without identifying the source of his inevitably second hand or third hand evidence”.
Decades of housing law says eviction should only be used as a last resort and “without notice” evictions should only be used in extreme circumstances. Lord Justice Brookes said there had been no previous warnings, no attempt to get Social Services involved in resolving the behaviour problems and none of the family had criminal records.
The two middle children had glowing school reports and Ms Hartless’ eight- year- old daughter was to appear in a carnival with her Brownie Guide pack the day after the ASBO was served. The teenage boy’s behaviour on the estate had been unacceptable (fighting and shouting abuse) and both parents had rowed with their neighbours; but making the entire family homeless was unreasonable, said the judge.”
As I was reading this, I found out that more and more local authorities are using ASBO’s to rid themselves of troublesome tenants. In the Hartless case, Moat Housing used an outside organisation-Community Assist- to do the legal work. I understand South Tyneside Council, stuffed to the gunwales with lawyers are farming their ASBO work to a Newcastle firm of expensive commercial lawyers, who instruct counsel AND send members of their staff to hold counsel’s hand during the application before the magistrates. The fees paid by the local authority would make a local council taxpayer weep. And it’s not as if persuading South Tyneside magistrates to grant an ASBO presents insuperable difficulties!