Bibby Stockholm in Falmouth Docks, 2023

Bibby Stockholm judicial review: court refuses but enforcement now viable

On 23 May 2024 the High Court dismissed our client’s (Carralyn Parkes) judicial review in Parkes v Dorset Council, [2024] EWHC 1253, which argued that Dorset Council has the power to enforce planning authority over the Bibby Stockholm barge.

Our client is disappointed that a loophole continues to exist whereby the Home Office can avoid local authority oversight of its use of the barge to accommodate asylum seekers in Portland. The judgment finds that neither the marine licensing regime nor the terrestrial planning regime applies to the barge, and the Court was unwilling to interpret legislation to close this loophole and give effect to the purpose of planning law, which is to allow local communities to have a say over the development in their area. Our client is currently considering whether to appeal the judgment.

Our client is pleased however, that the judgment confirms that it is within the hands of Dorset council to take enforcement action which would bring the use of the Bibby Stockholm to an end. As confirmed in the judgment, the position of Dorset Council is and has always been that the Council does have the power to exercise planning authority over the onshore aspects of the Bibby Stockholm operation, including the quayside security, embarkment, smoking and transportation areas. The Council has stated throughout the proceedings that it ‘continues to consider’ whether it should exercise planning control over those onshore areas. In fact, our client’s fourth argument failed precisely because the Court found that the Council is considering to take this action, and therefore not refusing to do so. Our client strongly hopes that after a full year of consideration, the Council will now finally take action.

Our client is deeply grateful for the solidarity and support of the many people who have supported the legal action, including many contributors to the crowdfunder, which made the case possible, and campaigners and local residents raising the concerns and perspectives of those onboard and directly affected.

A summary and the full text of the judgment can be found on the Court’s website:

For press enquiries please contact Carralyn Parkes at or DPG at

Share this story