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Winckworth Sherwood is at the forefront of St Paul’s Cathedral’s legal attempts to resolve the stand-off with anti-capitalist protestors occupying space outside the church.
The firm’s property disputes head Emma Chadwick and ecclesiastical partner Owen Carew-Jones are advising St Paul’s on the cathedral’s interaction with the protestors.
Last week (21 October) the cathedral closed its doors, saying that the Occupy London Stock Exchange (LSX) protest was a health and safety hazard. St Paul’s reopened on Friday warning that legal action might still be necessary, but on 1 November the cathedral announced it was suspending all legal action.
The City of London Corporation, which owns some of the lands on which Occupy LSX is camped, began court action against the protestors, saying camping on the highway was an “unreasonable” use of the land. City solicitor and comptroller Andrew Colvin is leading the work, which is being carried out in-house with advice from Landmark Chambers’ David Forsdick.
Late on Tuesday (1 November) the corporation said it was pressing “the ’pause’ button” on its legal action to “give time for reflection”.
Winckworth Sherwood advises five Church of England dioceses, including London, as well as two Roman Catholic dioceses, and has been acting for the ecclesiastical sector for over a century.
Meanwhile, Occupy LSX has turned to Bindmans partner Paul Ridge and 25 Bedford Row barrister John Cooper QC. Both the firm and Cooper are acting pro bono. Representatives from legal support project Green & Black Cross are also on site, a spokesperson for the protestors told The Lawyer.
Cooper, a human rights specialist, told The Lawyer he was providing advice on a range of areas, including health and safety and was ready to defend the protestors in court.