Occupy London protesters have been granted the right to continue squatting a disused Old Street magistrates’ court (pictured below) until January 23 – giving the group the opportunity to stage a series of “trials of the 1%” over the next three weeks.
The decision to allow the protesters to stay was made yesterday in the warmer climes of Clerkenwell County Court, where Occupy came to an agreement with the Old Street building’s property developer owner Mastcraft Limited (represented by Stratford solicitors’ firm Bowling & Co.).
Gytis Turbinas, one of the members of Occupy’s legal team, told Legal Cheek that the group was “very happy” with the outcome. “It’s in our interests to not have these court cases,” he said. “Three weeks gives us enough time. And it saves Mastcraft money enforcing a possession order and incurring further court expenses. We have reached an agreement that is good for all sides.”
Attention now turns to arranging the mock trials. Occupy says the number it conducts will depend on how much support from lawyers it receives. Currently the group believes it can count on the help of at least two solicitors and a retired judge. But it is keen to enlist jobless law graduates to act both as trial advocates and in litigation support roles. “We’re very keen to attract legally qualified volunteers of all levels of experience,” says Turbinas. If you are interested in volunteering, please get in touch on Twitter, Facebook or by commenting on this article and we’ll pass on your details to Occupy.
As for who Occupy is planning to put on trial, the group says it is still undecided. But a clue may lie in the names of individuals – including Sir Fred Goodwin and Tony Blair – that protesters have scrawled on the blackboards outside the cells in the basement of the Old Street courthouse since moving in on 20 December.
Occupy also plans to host a cabaret night at the court, which is located on the corner of Old Street and Hoxton Street, this Friday evening, featuring music, circus performers and comedy mock trials.