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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 18744
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My boat is ashore in a marina. The owners have installed

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JA: Hi. How can I help?
Customer: My boat is ashore in a marina. The owners have installed opening times when the corona crisis began. These opening times no longer make sense and go way beyond government regulations. I want to know my right to access my boat.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Southampton
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Emails
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

Good afternoon. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service.

what are the times this marina are open?

F E Smith and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
10am - 5pm
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I've paid, when will you call?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, when will you call????

I said I would confirm what we spoke about.

I am a Solicitor admitted by the Law Society of England and Wales. I have a current practising certificate.

I said would confirm what we spoke about.

With the recent relaxation of the Rules surrounding Covid-19, there is no reason for access not to continue as long as it did before.

Notwithstanding, it actually makes no sense because the virus doesn’t have a clock and it doesn’t suddenly become active at 5 PM whereas it may have been enacted before that.

Further, with social distancing, being on a boat is probably about as good as you get when it comes to being away from people. Further, actually being outdoors is far less risk than being indoors, even in the supermarket for example.

You say that there is no mention of opening hours in the contract. In that case, the agreed opening hours would be those which you had previously enjoyed which seemed to have been virtually unlimited. That is of course subject to any lockdown provisions which no longer apply.

As a result therefore the Marina owners are in breach of contract and in breach of the provisions of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 for failing to carry out the service with reasonable care and skill or for that matter letting you have a service which is as described.

What can you do about it?

When you can’t beat them with a blunt instrument until they allow you unfettered access and your only remedy is to take them to court for an injunction to compel them to give you access along the lines of what you previously enjoyed. As there is some urgency here, you could possibly get an emergency order within a week. You can ask the court to award costs against the Marina because of their unreasonable behaviour.

You do have to give them warning of the legal proceedings you propose with a reasonable timescale to comply and that would probably be 7 days although let’s face it, it doesn’t take seven days to make a decision.

One of the things I mentioned that you could do is simply refused to leave at the end of the day. In the same way that you cannot beat them with a blunt instrument until they let you stay, they can’t beat you with a blunt instrument until you leave.

If you decide that you are not going to leave at the end of the day, they have in effect withdrawn consent and you become a trespasser. However (and not a lot of people realise this outside the legal profession) trespass is not a crime. Therefore, you can walk around all you like inside, provided you don’t do any damage and you do not commit an offence . That is of course leaving the lockdown rules to one side.

There is no reason why you could therefore simply refused to leave at the end of the day. The owners could report it to the police but it’s not a police matter although I have to warn you that the average policeman doesn’t know a lot of law particularly with regard to trespass. They very often get involved and interfere when they shouldn’t and this could be well one of those.

If the owners of the Marina decide to lock you in, that becomes unlawful imprisonment and then you have a claim against them to make to the police for exactly that. So what starts offers a civil matter of trespass for you becomes a criminal matter if they lock you in.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Amazing, thanks a lot!

I am glad to help.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have no right to stay at my boat? What is "withdrawn consent"?

Under the agreement they say that you can go to your boat.

If they now say that you cannot go to your boat after 5 PM, then they have withdrawn consent and if you remain in the marina you are trespassing. However as I said earlier, it is not a criminal offence provided you don’t do any damage.

If you decide that you are going to stay on your boat overnight, and they don’t want that, they are going to have to get a court order to stop you and I think that’s unlikely although we don’t know the view the courts are going to take in these unprecedented times.