Scope and Content

Papers of Watkinson, David, including: papers, newsletters, minutes of meetings, notes, correspondence and ephemera regarding SQUASH (Squatters' Action for Secure Homes) and, particularly, the then Conservative Government's legislation regarding criminalising squatting (leading to the 1994 Criminal Justice Act) as donated to ASS by David Watkinson, barrister. (1993-1996)

Administrative / Biographical History

David Watkinson (LLB, MA Cantab) began his career as a barrister in 1972. He held executive membership of the Housing Law Practitioners Association (HLPA) and the Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA) and was vice-chair of the former. He was a member of the Civil Justice Council and the First Chair of its Housing and Land (later Property) Committee. From 1991-1996 he was active in helping ASS (Advisory Service for Squatters) and SQUASH (Squatters' Action for Secure Homes) with regard to the Conservative Government's proposed legislation regarding the criminalisation of squatting (which lead to the 1994 Criminal Justice Act).

In 2005 David received the 'Barrister of the Year' award at the LALY (Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year) awards ceremony. He has been described as 'an outstanding barrister, with an excellent understanding of the law [who] provides quality advice' (Legal 500, 2011). Publications include:

  • Law in a Housing Crisis – Legal Action 1975
  • Contributor to NCCL (Liberty) Civil Rights Guide 1980
  • Gypsy and Traveller Law – eds C. Johnson and M. Willers (1st ed LAG 2004; 2nd ed 2007; 3rd ed forthcoming 2015)
  • Regular contributor to Legal Action, Solicitor's Journal, Home Truths (HLPA's magazine), Roof (Shelter's Housing magazine) and the Haldane Society Bulletin and 'From the Lawyers' Collective' (Mumbai)

This collection concerns primarily Watkinson's work in 1993-1995 for SQUASH (Squatters' Action for Secure Homes), based at the Advisory Service for Squatters (ASS) offices at 2 St Paul's Road, London N1.


The Watkinson archive is divided into the following three sections:

  • WATKINSON/1: SQUASH (Squatters' Action for Secure Homes) Papers
  • WATKINSON/3: Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposited with Bishopsgate Institute via ASS (Advisory Service for Squatters), September 2015.

Other Finding Aids

Adlib catalogue and copy of handlist available in researcher's area.

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Grace Biggins.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying and digital photography (without flash) is permitted for research purposes on completion of the Library's Copyright Declaration form and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Personal Names