SERI has filed heads of argument in a case dealing with the meaning of “unlawful occupier” under the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE Act). SERI represents group of 97 adults and 39 children who reside in a series of disused hostels at Coronationville High School. In 2010, the MEC for Education and the School Governing Body applied to evict the residents from the property, arguing that they occupied the property without consent.
The residents argue that their occupation of the property was consented to for a lengthy period of time (the residents pay rent and had an oral lease with the previous Principal); that this consent was never terminated; and that they would be rendered homeless if they were evicted. They argue that the basic requirement of the PIE Act has not been met and they are simply not unlawful occupiers.