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European Court of Human Rights
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> European Court of Human Rights >> BUCKLEY v. THE UNITED KINGDOM - 20348/92 - Chamber Judgment  ECHR 39 (25 September 1996)
Cite as: 23 EHRR 101,  ECHR 39,  23 EHRR 101, (1996) 23 EHRR 101,  2 PLR 10,  JPL 1018, (1997) 23 EHRR 101
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CASE OF BUCKLEY v. THE UNITED KINGDOM
(Application no. 20348/92)
29 September 1996
In the case of Buckley v. the United Kingdom,
The European Court of Human Rights, sitting, in accordance with Article 43 (art. 43) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") and the relevant provisions of Rules of Court A, as a Chamber composed of the following judges:
Mr R. Bernhardt, President,
Mr Thór Vilhjálmsson,
Mr L.-E. Pettiti,
Mr A.N. Loizou,
Mr J.M. Morenilla,
Sir John Freeland,
Mr B. Repik,
Mr K. Jungwiert,
Mr U. Lohmus,
and also of Mr H. Petzold, Registrar, and Mr P.J. Mahoney, Deputy Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 23 February and 26 August 1996, Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the last-mentioned date:
The Commission's request referred to Articles 44 and 48 (art. 44, art. 48) and to the declaration whereby the United Kingdom recognised the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court (Article 46) (art. 46); the Government's application referred to Article 48 (art. 48). The object of the request and of the application was to obtain a decision as to whether the facts of the case disclosed a breach by the respondent State of its obligations under Article 8 of the Convention (art. 8).
There appeared before the Court:
(a) for the Government
Mr I. Christie, Assistant Legal Adviser, Foreign and
Commonwealth Office, Agent,
Mr D. Pannick QC,
Mr M. Shaw, Counsel,
Mr D. Russell, Department of the Environment,
Ms P. Prosser, Department of the Environment,
Mr R. Horsman, Department of the Environment,
Mrs K. Crandall, South Cambridgeshire District Council,
(b) for the Commission
Mr N. Bratza, Delegate;
(c) for the applicant
Mr P. Duffy, Barrister-at-Law,
Mr T. Jones, Barrister-at-Law, Counsel,
Mr L. Clements, Solicitor.
The Court heard addresses by Mr Bratza, Mr Duffy and Mr Pannick.
AS TO THE FACTS
I. PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
A. The background
B. The application for planning permission
She was refused on 8 March 1990 on the grounds that (1) adequate provision had been made for Gypsy caravans elsewhere in the South Cambridgeshire area, which had in the Council's opinion reached "saturation point" for Gypsy accommodation; (2) the planned use of the land would detract from the rural and open quality of the landscape, contrary to the aim of the local development plan which was to protect the countryside from all but essential development (see paragraph 30 below); and (3) Meadow Drove was an agricultural drove road which was too narrow to allow two vehicles to pass in safety.
The applicant appealed against the enforcement notice to the Secretary of State for the Environment (see paragraph 33 below).
In her report issued on 14 February 1991 the inspector observed that the local authority had granted planning permission to two caravan sites between the applicant's site and Meadow Drove (the applicant's sister's site and another), and to an agricultural workshop on land to the east of the site (which was occupied at the time of the inspection by an unauthorised road haulage business). The applicant's caravans were screened from the road because of these authorised and unauthorised developments. However, the inspector wrote that:
"... whether seen or not, the development subject of these notices [i.e. the applicant's caravan site] extends development further from the road than that permitted. It thus intrudes into the open countryside, contrary to the aim of the Structure Plan [see paragraph 30 below] to protect the countryside from all but essential development." The inspector also found that the access road to the site was too narrow for two vehicles to pass, and thus that the use of the site for caravans would not be in the interests of road safety. She considered the applicant's special status as a Gypsy and observed that in January 1990 there were over sixty Gypsy families on unauthorised sites in the district of South Cambridgeshire. She continued: "It is therefore clear in my mind that a need exists for more authorised spaces. ... Nevertheless, I consider it important to keep concentrations of sites for gypsies small, because in this way they are more readily accepted by the local community. ... [T]he concentration of gypsy sites in Willingham has reached the desirable maximum and I do not consider that the overall need for sites should, in this case, outweigh the planning objections."
She concluded by recommending that the appeal be dismissed.
"The decisive issue in regard to the planning merits of your appeals is considered to be whether the undisputed need for additional gypsies' caravan site provision, in the administrative areas of the District Council, and of the County Council, is so pressing that it should be permitted to override the objections on planning policy and highway safety grounds to the retention of the use of the appeal site as a residential caravan site for gypsies. On this approach, the view is taken that the objections to the continued use of the appeal site as a residential gypsy caravan site are so strong, on planning policy and highway safety grounds, that a grant of planning permission could not be justified, either on a temporary or personal basis. In reaching this conclusion, full consideration has been given to policy advice in the Department's Circular 28/77, giving guidance to Councils on the need to provide adequate accommodation in the form of caravan sites, for gypsies residing in or resorting to their area. However, on the available evidence, the view is taken, in agreement with the officer's appraisal, that the concentration of gypsy caravan sites around the Willingham area has reached the desirable maximum, and the overall need for additional sites should not outweigh the planning and highway objections arising from the continued use of this particular site."
The applicant did not appeal to the High Court because she was advised by counsel that no grounds arose in her case (see paragraph 34 below).
C. Criminal proceedings against the applicant
E. Subsequent developments
"... the continued use of the rear plots considerably extends the depth of development south of the road. This intensification of use in itself inevitably detracts from the rural appearance and generally open character of the area, contrary to the objectives of national and local countryside policy. I must therefore conclude that the continued occupation of the land as gypsy caravan sites is harmful to the character and appearance of the countryside."
With regard to the special circumstances of the case, in particular the applicant's Gypsy status, the inspector made the following observations. She described the applicant's site as "clean, spacious and well-ordered". By contrast, the council-run site on Meadow Drove (see paragraphs 24-26 below) was "isolated, exposed and somewhat uncared for". Nevertheless, it was
"a relevant consideration that there is available alternative accommodation close by, which would enable the appellants to stay in the Willingham area and their children to continue at the local schools".
On the other hand,
"little weight [could] be given to the private sites at Cottenham. No substantive evidence was given by either the Council or the appellants as to whether plots were actually available there or their price".
The inspector considered the impact of Circular 1/94 (see paragraph 43 below) on the applicant's case, but concluded that, although it placed greater emphasis on the provision of sites by Gypsies themselves, it was government policy that proposals for Gypsy sites should continue to be determined solely in relation to land-use factors. She concluded that there had been no material changes since the last appeal was heard and the present appeal should therefore be dismissed.
F. Authorised Gypsy sites in the district of South Cambridgeshire
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
A. General planning law
B. Gypsy caravan sites provision
1. The Caravan Sites Act 1968
2. The Cripps Report
3. Circular 28/77
4. Circular 57/78
5. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
6. Circular 1/94
"In order to encourage private site provision, local planning authorities should offer advice and practical help with planning procedures to gypsies who wish to acquire their own land for development. ... The aim should be as far as possible to help gypsies to help themselves, to allow them to secure the kind of sites they require and thus help avoid breaches of planning control." However: "As with other planning applications, proposals for gypsy sites should continue to be determined solely in relation to land-use factors. Whilst gypsy sites might be acceptable in some rural locations, the granting of permission must be consistent with agricultural, archaeological, countryside, environmental, and Green Belt policies ..."
PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION
FINAL SUBMISSIONS TO THE COURT
AS TO THE LAW
I. SCOPE OF THE CASE BEFORE THE COURT
A. Applicant's complaint under Article 14 of the Convention taken together with Article 8 (art. 14+8)
B. Applicant's "formal objections"
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 8 OF THE CONVENTION (art. 8)
"1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. 2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right 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 freedoms of others."
The Government contested this argument but the Commission accepted it.
A. Whether a right protected by Article 8 (art. 8) is in issue
B. Whether there was an "interference by a public authority"
C. Whether the interference was "in accordance with the law"
D. Whether the interference pursued a "legitimate aim"
E. Whether the interference was "necessary in a democratic society"
1. Arguments before the Court
(a) The applicant
(b) The Government
(c) The Commission
2. The Court's assessment
(a) General principles
(b) Application of the above principles
"... [the applicant's caravan site] extends development further from the road than that permitted. It thus intrudes into the open countryside, contrary to the aim of the Structure Plan to protect the countryside from all but essential development."
"It is ... clear in my mind that a need exists for more authorised spaces. ... Nevertheless, I consider it important to keep concentrations of sites for gypsies small, because in this way they are more readily accepted by the local community. ... [T]he concentration of gypsy sites in Willingham has reached the desirable maximum and I do not consider that the overall need for sites should, in this case, outweigh the planning objections."
The Secretary of State's reasoning in his decision included the following:
"The decisive issue in regard to the planning merits of your appeals is considered to be whether the undisputed need for additional gypsies' caravan site provision, in the administrative areas of the District Council, and of the County Council, is so pressing that it should be permitted to override the objections on planning policy and highway safety grounds to the retention of the use of the appeal site as a residential caravan site for gypsies. On this approach, the view is taken that the objections to the continued use of the appeal site as a residential gypsy caravan site are so strong, on planning policy and highway safety grounds, that a grant of planning permission could not be justified, either on a temporary or personal basis. In reaching this conclusion, full consideration has been given to policy advice in the Department's Circular 28/77, giving guidance to Councils on the need to provide adequate accommodation in the form of caravan sites, for gypsies residing in or resorting to their area."
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 14 OF THE CONVENTION TAKEN TOGETHER WITH ARTICLE 8 (art. 14+8)
"The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in [the] Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status."
In her contention, both the 1968 Act and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 prevented Gypsies from pursuing their traditional lifestyle by making it illegal for them to locate their caravans on unoccupied land.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT
1. Holds, unanimously, that Article 8 of the Convention (art. 8) is applicable in the present case;
2. Holds, by six votes to three, that there has been no violation of Article 8 of the Convention (art. 8);
3. Holds, by eight votes to one, that there has been no violation of Article 14 of the Convention taken together with Article 8 (art. 14+8).
Done in English and in French, and delivered at a public hearing in the Human Rights Building, Strasbourg, on 25 September 1996.
In accordance with Article 51 para. 2 of the Convention (art. 51-2) and Rule 53 para. 2 of Rules of Court A, the following dissenting opinions are annexed to this judgment:
(a) partly dissenting opinion of Mr Repik;
(b) partly dissenting opinion of Mr Lohmus;
(c) dissenting opinion of Mr Pettiti.
PARTLY DISSENTING OPINION OF JUDGE REPIK
I voted with the majority in favour of finding that Article 8 (art. 8) was applicable in this case and that there had been no violation of Article 14 (art. 14). However, I regret that I am unable to agree with the majority finding that there has been no violation of Article 8 (art. 8). It is with the majority's finding that the interference in issue was necessary in a democratic society (paragraphs 78 to 84 of the judgment) that I disagree. The observations which I make in this partly dissenting opinion are strictly limited to the instant case. I have no intention of questioning the United Kingdom's policy towards the Gypsy minority or that minority's position, which seems to be incomparably more favourable than that in many other States, in particular in certain new member States of the Council of Europe. However, it must be borne in mind that this is the first case before the Court concerning the right of a member of the Gypsy minority; I am concerned about how the Court's first judgment on this subject will be interpreted and how it will be received by the Gypsy minority. The concept of necessity implies a pressing social need; in particular, the measure taken must be proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued. It has to be determined whether a fair balance has been struck between the aim pursued and the right concerned, regard being had to the latter's importance and to the seriousness of the infringement. All that is well known and has been reiterated by the Court on a number of occasions in its case-law (see, in particular, the following judgments: Gillow v. the United Kingdom, 24 November 1986, Series A no. 109, p. 22, para. 55; Olsson v. Sweden (no. 1), 24 March 1988, Series A no. 130, p. 32, para. 67; Berrehab v. the Netherlands, 21 June 1988, Series A no. 138, p. 16, para. 29). In the present case the national authorities did not properly assess whether the aim pursued was proportionate to the applicant's right to respect for her home and to the seriousness of the infringement of that right. At no stage during the domestic proceedings was the problem before the authorities considered in terms of a right of the applicant protected by the Convention, for the Government denied throughout that a right to respect for the home was in issue and therefore that there had been any interference with that right. The applicant's interests, confronted with the requirements of the protection of the countryside, were only taken into account in abstract, general terms, such as "the undisputed need for additional gypsies' caravan site provision" (paragraph 17 of the judgment) or "the applicant's Gypsy status" (paragraph 22 of the judgment). There was never any mention of the applicant's right to respect for her home or of the importance of that right to her given her financial and family situation. Nor was any account taken of the possible consequences for the applicant and her children were she to be evicted from her land. In these circumstances the Court, in order to fulfil its supervisory role, ought itself to have considered whether the interference was proportionate to the right in issue and to its importance to the applicant, all the more so as where a fundamental right of a member of a minority is concerned, especially a minority as vulnerable as the Gypsies, the Court has an obligation to subject any such interference to particularly close scrutiny. In my opinion, the Court has not fully performed its duty as it has not taken into account all the relevant matters adduced by the Commission and was too hasty in invoking the margin of appreciation left to the State. Respect for planning policy, in particular protection of the countryside, has been placed on one side of the scales. The Court has not taken into account that the weight of that interest is considerably reduced by the fact, reported by the Commission, that the applicant did not park her caravans either on land under special protection or in unspoilt open countryside. There are in fact already a number of buildings on neighbouring land (see paragraph 72 of the judgment) and the applicant's caravans could have been adequately screened from view by planting hedges (see paragraph 82 of the judgment). In any event, the fact that the applicant's caravans were parked there did not impair the rural, open character of the countryside any more than it had been impaired previously. Much importance was attached to the fact that the applicant could have moved to a different site. The Commission considered that it was not reasonably open to the applicant to move to a private site and that the official Meadow Drove site was not suitable for her (see paragraphs 79 and 82 of the Commission's opinion). As regards the possibility of moving to Meadow Drove, the Court found that from the applicant's point of view the question was merely one of individual preference as to her place of residence and that such preferences are not protected by Article 8 (art. 8) (see paragraph 81 of the judgment). The Court underestimates the cogency of the arguments advanced by the Commission, which reported in detail on the condition of the Meadow Drove site and the numerous incidents which have occurred there. The safety of the applicant's family is not guaranteed there and it is an unsuitable place for bringing up her children. The applicant did not, therefore, refuse to move there out of sheer capriciousness. Moreover, that argument cannot apply to the measures taken before 1992, which were the matters primarily complained of in the application lodged with the Commission on 7 February 1992, as the Meadow Drove site was only opened in November 1992. Whilst the applicant wishes to find a safe and stable place to set up home, she also wishes to retain the possibility of travelling during school holidays - a legitimate objective given the traditional way of life and culture of the Gypsy minority. However, she would not be sure of finding a vacant pitch on the official site on returning from her travels.
If the applicant were obliged to leave her land, she would be exposed to the constant worry of having to find a place where she could lawfully stay, her children's education would be jeopardised and so on (see the precarious situation of travelling Gypsies described in the Cripps Report, cited in paragraph 38 of the judgment). Lastly, as regards the extent of the interference, the Court only takes into account the relatively small amount of the fines imposed on the applicant for failing to remove her caravans (see paragraph 83 of the judgment) not her overall position; she still faces prosecution, further fines and eviction from her land, with all that entails in the way of insecurity and disruption of her family life. To my mind, the fair balance between the applicant's rights and the interests of society has not been struck and the interference has therefore not been justified under Article 8 para. 2 (art. 8-2). That does not mean to say that Gypsies, as a group, are exempt from lawful constraints under town and country planning law. The question whether a fair balance has been struck between the relevant opposing interests depends on the particular facts of each case. In sum, there has been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention (art. 8).
PARTLY DISSENTING OPINION OF JUDGE LOHMUS
Unlike the majority of the Court I am of the opinion that in the present case Article 8 of the Convention (art. 8) has been violated. The majority of the Court did not find that the national authorities exceeded their margin of appreciation in the present case (see paragraph 84 of the judgment). My opinion coincides with the conclusions of the Commission. Living in a caravan and travelling are vital parts of Gypsies' cultural heritage and traditional lifestyle. This fact is important to my mind in deciding whether the correct balance has been struck between the rights of a Gypsy family and the general interest of the community. The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Resolution (75) 13 noted the need to safeguard the cultural heritage and identity of nomads. It has been stated before the Court that the applicant as a Gypsy has the same rights and duties as all the other members of the community. I think that this is an oversimplification of the question of minority rights. It may not be enough to prevent discrimination so that members of minority groups receive equal treatment under the law. In order to establish equality in fact, different treatment may be necessary to preserve their special cultural heritage. Even allowing the existence of genuine and substantial planning objections to the continuing occupation of the land, the factors weighing in favour of the public interest in planning controls are of a slight and general nature. Mrs Buckley lives with her three children in caravans parked on land owned by her since 1988. In 1994 the inspector described the applicant's site as "clean, spacious and well-ordered". By contrast, the council-run site on Meadow Drove was "isolated, exposed and somewhat uncared for". Although alternative accommodation is available on the official site, it appears doubtful whether it is suitable for Mrs Buckley's needs.
DISSENTING OPINION OF JUDGE PETTITI
I have not voted with the majority of the Court as I consider that there has been a violation of Article 8 and of Article 14 (art. 8, art. 14) in this case. Before analysing the reasons that have led me to this opinion, I have a general observation to make. This is the first time that a problem concerning Gypsy communities and "travellers" has been referred to the European Court. Europe has a special responsibility towards Gypsies. During the Second World War States concealed the genocide suffered by Gypsies. After the Second World War, this direct or indirect concealment continued (even with regard to compensation). Throughout Europe, and in member States of the Council of Europe, the Gypsy minority have been subject to discrimination, and rejection and exclusion measures have been taken against them. There has been a refusal to recognise Gypsy culture and the Gypsy way of life. In eastern Europe the return to the democracy has not helped them. Can the European Convention provide a remedy for this situation? The answer must be yes, since the purpose of the Convention is to impose a positive obligation on the States to ensure that fundamental rights are guaranteed without discrimination. Did the present case afford the opportunity for a positive application of the Convention in this sphere? That is the question which the Court had to answer in the Buckley case. In order to conclude that there has been no violation of Article 8 (art. 8), the Court partly adopts an initial analysis of the facts similar to the Commission's, that is to say the findings of fact set out in particular in paragraphs 76 to 78 of its report, although the Court makes a number of changes to the wording. However, the Court rejects the reasoning in paragraphs 79 to 84 of the report, which led the Commission to express the opinion that there had been a violation. In order to do that, the Court attaches greater weight to the report cited in paragraph 16 of the judgment than to the one cited in paragraph 22, which is equally substantiated. The Strasbourg institutions' difficulty in identifying this type of problem is that the deliberate superimposition and accumulation of administrative rules (each of which would be acceptable taken singly) result, firstly, in its being totally impossible for a Gypsy family to make suitable arrangements for its accommodation, social life and the integration of its children at school and, secondly, in different government departments combining measures relating to town planning, nature conservation, the viability of access roads, planning permission requirements, road safety and public health that, in the instant case, mean the Buckley family are caught in a "vicious circle". In attempting to comply with the disproportionate requirements of an authority or a rule, a family runs the risk of contravening other rules. Such unreasonable combinations of measures are in fact only employed against Gypsy families to prevent them living in certain areas. The British Government denied that their policy was discriminatory. Yet a number of legal provisions expressly refer to Gypsies in order to restrict their rights by means of administrative rules. However, the only acceptable discrimination under Article 14 (art. 14) is positive discrimination, which implies that in order to achieve equality of rights through equality of opportunity it is necessary in certain cases to grant additional rights to the deprived members of the population such as the underclasses of developed countries, and the Gypsy and Jenische communities.
The discrimination results equally from the fact that if in similar circumstances a British citizen who was not a Gypsy wished to live on his land in a caravan, the authorities would not raise any difficulties, even if they considered his conduct to be unorthodox. If the Buckley case were transposed to a family of ecologists or adherents of a religion instead of Gypsies, the harassment to which Mrs Buckley was subjected would not have occurred; even supposing that it had, domestic remedies or an application under the European Convention on Human Rights would have allowed such an interference with family life to be brought to an end, which was not so under the domestic law in the case of Gypsy families. If the facts of the case are analysed, not by combining the different areas of law and legal provisions concerned, but taking them individually under the Convention, the Commission's report (paragraphs 21 to 38) and the factors relating to Article 8 (art. 8) and Protocol No. 1 (P1) lead to the following conclusions: (a) with regard to the free movement of persons and the individual's freedom of establishment with his family, the obstacles placed in the way of Gypsies go beyond the general law. Forcing them to live in a designated area is equivalent to placing them or assigning them to a territory, all the more so where the area proves to be unhealthy or not adapted to the children's schooling needs; (b) with regard to the right to family property, there is a breach of the right to family life - in respect of which reference could have been made to the use of property within the meaning of Protocol No. 1 (P1) - on account of the systematic refusal to convert retrospective planning permission into permanent permission to park the caravans. The fact that there had been an exchange of occupation of the land by the families (two sisters) could not justify such a refusal; (c) with regard to the minimum right to accommodation, one of the constituents of Article 8 (art. 8), where the accommodation is a substantial and essential part of family life, the authority's requirement that an owner move because of the concentration of Gypsy sites in the area amounts to an unacceptable or disproportionate interference, since the owner is not liable for the acts or omissions of others (Commission's report, paragraph 27); (d) with regard to the impairment of the "rural and open quality of the landscape" and environment protection (Commission's report, paragraph 24) which, in the Government's submission, would justify an interference even under Article 8 (art. 8), the fact that the authorities rely on this argument only against Gypsy families also amounts to a disproportionate interference for, in the hierarchy of the State's positive obligations, the survival of families must come before bucolic or aesthetic concerns. The Court was asked to consider this case under Articles 8 and 14 of the Convention (art. 8, art. 14) only, but in this sphere and in situations similar to the Buckley family's, the aspects of discrimination and breach of the right to accommodation and a home, inasmuch as they necessarily have an impact on the right to respect for family life, are indissociable from such respect. In my view, therefore, the Court is wrong in paragraphs 54 and 55 to restrict the scope of its review and analysis. The Government's reliance on the lawful aim pursued was not justified, because the grounds of public safety, economic well-being of the country and protection of health and of the rights of others were not established and should not therefore have been accepted in paragraph 63. The question of the sites was an important consideration. The Government had, moreover, recognised that Gypsies following a traditional way of life required special consideration (paragraph 71). However, as the Commission noted, a proper balance had not been achieved although the Buckley family had been living on the site without incident since 1988. The official Meadow Drove site was quite unsuitable. The capacity of other official sites was insufficient (applicant's memorial, paragraphs 66 to 69) and no other privately owned site offering acceptable conditions was available (Commission's report, paragraphs 78 and 79). Other private sites were likewise unavailable. On the other hand, Mrs Buckley's site was properly maintained (applicant's memorial, paragraph 65). In her report of July 1995 the second inspector found that the objection relating to protection of the site could have been overcome by planting hedges, but the Government concluded that that "would not have reduced [the] intrusion into [the] countryside" (paragraph 82 of the judgment). The Court, which rightly recalls that it cannot act as an appeal court, nonetheless states its conviction that the authority's grounds were relevant, a statement that may appear self-contradictory. But the grounds could not be relevant under the Convention as the Government's approach is to give priority to protection of the landscape over respect for family life. The ranking of fundamental rights under Article 8 and Protocol No. 1 (art. 8, P1) is thereby reversed and, moreover, the traditional aptitude for travel is impeded. In addition, in the present case, there was no effective procedural safeguard to enable a remedy for the administrative harassment to be provided under Article 8 (art. 8) (see the McMichael v. the United Kingdom judgment of 24 February 1995, Series A no. 307-B, p. 57, paras. 91 and 92). With regard to the reasons for the interference, the Court relies on the inspector's report from which it quotes (in paragraph 80 of the judgment) extracts that are favourable to the Government's case; but there are other passages in the report that support the applicant's case. It suffices to refer to the passages from the reports quoted in the applicant's memorial to see that the passages relied on were not necessarily the most relevant ones (applicant's memorial, paragraphs 65, 66, 69 and 71; verbatim record of hearing pp. 11, 20 and 23). Reasons are given in paragraph 75 of the judgment which would have been justified under Protocol No. 1 (P1), but which in my opinion are not valid because what is at stake is family life, not planning considerations. The demands of family life have consequently not been taken into consideration (paragraph 80). The following passage quoted from the inspector's report (paragraph 80 of the judgment) is revealing: "...in this way they are more readily accepted by the local community" (sic)!! It is not in keeping with the spirit of Article 8 (art. 8) to subordinate respect for the applicant's right to family life, as the Government maintain, to the greater convenience of the local community and its greater willingness to accept others (paragraph 80), or to give the applicant's special needs lower priority than the objectives of government policy (paragraph 80). The Bryan and Sporrong and Lönnroth judgments were concerned with different situations in international law, in particular Protocol No. 1 (P1) (paragraph 75). The Court afforded greater protection of the home and accommodation in the Niemietz and Gillow judgments, situations in which there was in fact less risk to family life. Essentially, the Convention ought, in the case of Gypsy families, to inspire the greatest possible respect for family life, transcending planning considerations. With regard to Article 14 taken together with Article 8 (art. 14+8), the Court holds that there has been no violation (see paragraphs 59 and 88 of the judgment) because it considers that the 1968 and 1994 Acts had not been applied to the applicant's detriment. However, in the general context of Article 14 and Article 8 (art. 14, art. 8) all of the applicant's complaints relate to the effect of the de jure and de facto measures, which, in being discriminatory prevented respect for family life. With regard to Article 14 of the Convention (art. 14), relied on here but also included in the assessment of the case under Article 8 (art. 8), section 16 of the Caravan Sites Act 1968 expressly refers to Gypsies, thereby discriminating in its treatment of them compared with other nationals. The apparent aim of the British legislation is to promote acceptance of Gypsies in towns and villages (section 6 of the 1968 Act) but the use made of this section has achieved the opposite result. The same occurs in other Council of Europe States where the family life of Gypsy groups is frustrated by various administrative constraints - for instance, allowing them to set up camp but denying them access to water or schools. Providing caravan sites for travellers does not meet the real needs. It is this which has given rise to the numerous proposals made by the international movement ATD Fourth World in Europe, a non-governmental organisation consulted by States. Mrs Buckley's position is comparable to that of this category of deprived groups (travellers, Gypsies and Jenische). The paragraphs from the inspectors' reports on which the Government relied are contradicted by other paragraphs from the reports cited by the Commission and the applicant. To my mind, it is therefore not possible to conclude that the interference was justified. The Commission rightly found that it was impossible to live on a private site (other than the one originally purchased by Mrs Buckley or her sister). It was similarly impossible to live on waste ground. The Commission recognised that the proposal that they live on the neighbouring official site came up against the problems of the various incidents that had occurred there, which would give rise to a situation incompatible with family life within the meaning of Article 8 (art. 8) and lead to discriminatory treatment affecting only travellers. Thus, either there are too many administrative obstacles or else the alternative proposals are inadequate, and this considerably destabilises the family and makes the children's future unsettled. The pretexts of planning controls and road safety appear to be unfounded or derisory in comparison with the major problem of preserving family life. Admittedly, only Articles 8 and 14 (art. 8, art. 14) are in issue, but the failure to comply with those provisions (art. 8, art. 14) in this case could, in similar cases, be considered also under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1). When Article 8 (art. 8) is being interpreted, the discriminatory aspects serve indirectly to show that the claimed justification for the interference is unfounded. In any event, the findings taken as a whole should not, in my view, allow the harassment and alleged safety measures directed at the Buckley family to be considered proportionate to the aim pursued, and necessary in a democratic society such as the Council of Europe has the role of consolidating through the guarantees provided by Articles 8 and 14 taken individually or together (art. 8, art. 14, art. 14+8). The Court uses the notion of margin of appreciation in formulations (see paragraph 84 of the judgment) which appear to me to extend that concept too far when compared with the Court's previous case-law and without laying down any precise criteria. The practice established under the Court's case-law has been to restrict the States' margin of appreciation by making it subject to review by the Court by reference to the criteria which the Court has laid down by virtue of its autonomous power to interpret the Convention. The comprehensive wording adopted also seems to me to be different from that used in the Court's judgments concerning the application of Protocol No. 1 (P1). In the present case, moreover, there was no necessity for the measures in a democratic State (on the contrary) and the interference was, at the very least, disproportionate. International organisations have been very attentive to the situation of the Gypsies (see Second Report United Nations ECOSOC E/CN4/Sub2/1995/15). The European Union and the Council of Europe have examined the problem on a number of occasions, whilst noting the indifference of both west and east European States. Many studies have been carried out which come to the same conclusion (see Droit du quart monde, Revue Editions Centre ATD nos. 1 to 9). In my view, the European Court had, in the Buckley case, an opportunity to produce, in the spirit of the European Convention, a critique of national law and practice with regard to Gypsies and travellers in the United Kingdom that would have been transposable to the rest of Europe, and thereby partly compensate for the injustices they suffer.
 The case is numbered 23/1995/529/615. The first number is the case's position on the list of cases referred to the Court in the relevant year (second number). The last two numbers indicate the case's position on the list of cases referred to the Court since its creation and on the list of the corresponding originating applications to the Commission.
 Rules A apply to all cases referred to the Court before the entry into force of Protocol No. 9 (P9) (1 October 1994) and thereafter only to cases concerning States not bound by that Protocol (P9). They correspond to the Rules that came into force on 1 January 1983, as amended several times subsequently.
 For practical reasons this annex will appear only with the printed version of the judgment (in Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1996-IV), but a copy of the Commission's report is obtainable from the registry.
 Travelling is a need that is deeply rooted in Gypsy psychology. "The traveller who loses the possibility, and the hope, of travelling on, loses with it his very reason for living." Extract from Roma, Gypsies and Travellers by Jean-Pierre Liégeois, Council of Europe Press, Strasbourg, 1994, p. 79.
 A nomadic community in Alsace.