This collection of critical essays considers the criminalisation of squatting from a range of different theoretical, policy and practice perspectives. While the practice of squatting has long been criminalised in some jurisdictions, the last few years have witnessed the emergence of a newly constituted political concern with unlawful occupation of land. With initiatives to address the ‘threat’ of squatting sweeping across Europe, the offence of squatting in a residential building was created in England in 2012. This development, which has attracted a large measure of media attention, has been widely regarded as a controversial policy departure, with many commentators, Parliamentarians, and professional organisations arguing that its support is premised on misunderstandings of the current law and a precarious evidence-base concerning the nature and prevalence of ‘squatting’.
Moral Rhetoric and the Criminalisation of Squatting explores the significance of measures to criminalise squatting for squatters, owners and communities. The book also interrogates wider themes that draw on political philosophy, social policy, criminal justice and the nature of ownership, to consider how the assimilation of squatting to a contemporary punitive turn is shaping the political, social, legal and moral landscapes of property, housing and crime.
"Moral Rhetoric and the Criminalisation of Squatting is a comprehensive and wide-ranging, multidisciplinary examination of this important topic that sets the bar for all future work. Leading figures and emerging new voices develop a series of unique insights into the offence of squatting from the perspectives of the state, the squatter and the landowner in the UK and beyond. Anyone with an interest in this topic must engage with the contributions to this excellent collection." - Professor Thom Brooks, Durham University, UK
"This book is an absolute treasure for both teachers and students interested in the basic jurisprudence of where a tort ends and a crime begins and whether in the 21st century the law of tort has as much relevance today when the state can deal more effectively with a trespass than the civil courts have done." - Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
Introduction - Criminalising squatting: setting an agenda Lorna Fox O’Mahony, David O’Mahony and Robin Hickey, Part I. The state: critical perspectives on criminalisation in the neo-liberal state 1. The Political Economy of Trespass: Re-visiting Marxist Analysis of the Law’s Response to Squatting Neil Cobb, 2. Crime as property: a restorative perspective on the criminalisation of squatting and the ‘ownership’ of unlawful occupation David O’Mahony and Lorna Fox O’Mahony, 3. Criminalisation of Squatting: Scottish Lessons? Bonnie Holligan, Part II. The squatter: vulnerability, lifestyle, protest and political rhetoric 4. The Role of Rhetoric in the Criminalisation of Squatting Theodora Middleton, 5. The criminalisation of squatting: discourses, moral panics and resistances in the Netherlands and England & Wales Deanna Daduscand ETC Dee, 6. Criminalising the poor: squatting, homelessness, and social welfare Kesia Reeve, Part III. The land owner: protecting property and adverse possession 7. A property law critique of the criminalisation of squatting Robin Hickey, 8. Adverse Possession: Relativity to Absolutism Emma Waring, 9. The changing architectures of adverse possession and a political aesthetics of squatting Lucy Finchett-Maddock, 10. Conclusions - Developing critical perspectives on the criminalisation of squatting Lorna Fox O’Mahony, David O’Mahony and Robin Hickey