Questions to CRT following Mayers Case

NABO has asked CRT to respond to the following questions raised by our legal representative as a result of the recent judgement in the case of CRT v Mayers.

We question for example how can CRT enforce, its "no return" rule in the light of this.

We believe the questions we pose below should be explored before any proposed changes to the boaters’ guidance or license terms and conditions are made.

(For full judgement see: files/CRT_v_Mayers_Judgment_22-11-13.pdf )

1.       Why has the judgement CRT v Mayers not been available through CRT considering 1.4 of the judgement? It was released without restriction.

Judgement extract 1.4 This draft written judgement has been sent to Counsel on the usual basis for minor corrections to be suggested. Replies have been received from both Counsel and these have been taken into account in completing judgement. It may now be regarded as a fully written judgement and may be utilised without restriction save that it must not be selectively quoted so as to give a misleading impression as to its contents.

2.       Is this judgement now available through the CRT web site?

3.       Does CRT now accept that a boat does not have to use its home mooring, reference 6.3 of the judgement?

Judgement extract 6.3 There are clear anomalies in both positions. CRT clearly regard the occupation of moorings by permanently resident boat owners who do not move very much as a significant problem (see paragraphs 3.5 and 3.6 above). However, neither the statutory regime in subsection 17(3) nor the guidelines can deal with this problem. A boat which has a home mooring is not required to be “bona fide used for navigation throughout the period of the license” but neither is it required ever to use its home mooring. The Act requires that the mooring is available, it does not say it must be used. The guidelines also have this effect. The boat is still subject to the restriction that it must not stay in the same place for more than 14 days but there is nothing whatever to stop it being shuffled between two locations quite close together provided that they are far enough apart to constitute different places. If those who are causing overcrowding at popular spots have home moorings anywhere in the country the present regime cannot control their overuse of the popular spots. Such an owner could cruise to and fro along the Kennet and Avon Canal near Bristol and the home mooring could be in Birmingham totally unused.

4.       Does CRT accept that Mr. Davies was not the owner and occupier of a houseboat, but a live aboard who was required to move every 14 days to a different place and bona fide navigate?

5.       Does CRT accept that Sections 2.3.1 and 2.3.2 are irrelevant as there are less than 100 houseboat certificates in use and none have been issued for the last 20 years?

6.       Does CRT accept paragraph 6.3?  

See Judgement extract at Q3 above

7.       Does CRT accept 7.13 “the phrase” used bona fide for navigation “involves consideration of the purpose of the use, rather than the extent of the movement”.

Judgement extract 7.13 The decision is to be found at paragraph 14 “In deciding whether the defendant’s use of his boat relieves him of the requirement to have a permanent mooring the question has to be asked “What does the defendant use his boat for?” This involves consideration of the purpose for which he uses his boat. Is it to be used for navigation or for some other purpose? If he uses it for navigation, is he so using it throughout the period of the license? It is accepted and asserted by the defendant that he uses it for his home. It seems to me that the use of a boat as a home does not necessarily exclude a co-existent use for navigation. Indeed a person who continuously cruises the waterways in the manner envisaged by the Board might well be living full time on his boat and have no other home . The question remains for what purpose does the defendant use his boat? Is it for navigation? I have come to the conclusion that the defendant’s use of the boat is not and will not be “for navigation”. His use of the boat is as his home, and his movement of the boat is not use bona fide for navigation, it is incidental to its use as a home. His purpose in keeping the boat on the short stretch of the canal between Bath and Bradford-on-Avon is so his home is within a convenient distance of his place of work and his social circle. His purpose in moving the boat is to attempt to escape the requirement to have a permanent mooring. His movement of the boat use is not use that is bona fide for navigation and in my judgement the Board was justified in concluding that the applicant did not qualify for the issue of a license.”

“The phrase “used bona fide for navigation” involves consideration of the purpose of the use, rather than the extent of the movement”

8.       Does CRT accept 7.22.7?

Judgement extract 7.22.7 I agree with HH Deputy Judge O’Malley DL that “the phrase “used bona fide for navigation” involves consideration of the purpose of use, rather than the extent of the movement”. CRT rely heavily on that decision as supporting their position but in respect of the requirement to use a significant part of the network it has precisely the opposite effect.

Mark Tizard