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'Simon Cowell' Busking Laws Indefensible

Larry Neild on pleas directed at Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson

Published on August 21st 2012.

'Simon Cowell' Busking Laws Indefensible

THE legal team acting for 19-year-old Liverpool busker Siobhan McDermott, led by David Kirwan, have submitted their grounds of objection to the High Court as part of a judicial review.

Joe Anderson has the chance to put right a wrong by voluntarily overturning these new measures, and by doing so save the city the cost of defending what is indefensible. 

The young guitarist and vocalist has performed regularly for shoppers and passersby in Church Street, Liverpool, for three years. 

A ten-page legal submission outlines three key objections to the council’s decision - specifically that the decision is unlawful, that the process was unreasonable, and that the terms and conditions are ‘irrational, oppressive and/or disproportionate to the extent that no reasonable decision maker, properly informed, could have arrived at them.’ 

Law firm Kirwans is spearheading a legal challenge to overturn the newly introduced measures ordering buskers, mime artists and other street performers to obtain £20 permits as well as taking out public liability insurance costing around £100 a year. 

Buskers also have to sign up to restrictive terms and conditions.Under the new policy council officers and police can pull the plug on any busker judged by them to be musically unsatisfactory under what has been dubbed the ‘Simon Cowell Clause.’ 

Street artists face possible trespass charges if they do not co-operate with the new rules.

David Kirwan, managing partner of Kirwans, said: “Joe Anderson has the chance to put right a wrong by voluntarily overturning these new measures, and by doing so save the city the cost of defending what is indefensible. 

“We believe we have a strong case on many levels, not least the fact that Liverpool City Council’s decision is unlawful. 

Joe AndersonJoe Anderson“I have written to Councillor Anderson fully disclosing our detailed objections which have now been submitted to the High Court. I have urged him to scrap the council’s decision and - if he wishes to proceed with a regulatory regime - to start afresh, this time with proper consultation with the performers and the Musicians’ Union. 

”Kirwans is backing the Keep Streets Live! campaign launched by Liverpool-born busker Jonny Walker, 32, founder of the Association of Street Artists and Performers."

A response is awaited from the Mayor's Office. 

Thousands of people have so far signed this online petition alive urging the council to review the policy. Find out more about the Keep Streets Live! campaign at www.keepstreetslive.com


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Tom GeorgeAugust 24th 2012.

the link to the petition above isnt working (for me at least)...try this

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