An account of the abuse of people living on boats on the waterways by the Canal and River Trust, previously British Waterways.   Then a Public Authority, now part Public Body, part Charity.   In receipt of public funds and public donations.  The account is based around the story of me and my boat Pearl, a converted Thomas Clayton tar boat built 1935.  It's not about me it's about them and their deliberate persecution of people, particularly 'vulnerable' people, who live on boats, and those who collude with them for their own selfish interests, and those authorities that allow them to get away with it.     

You don't have to live on a boat to find it alarming.    

December. Articles relating to CRT abuses and corrupt practice. (Some revision July 2016)

Articles that have appeared elsewhere relating to my case and other instances of the corrupt and dishonest behaviour of the Canal and River Trust.

Here is an article published on Narrowboatworld that gives further evidence of the corrupt behaviour of CRT, and their agents, Shoosmiths.   

 ''The case of CaRT v Tony Dunkley has attracted a lot of interest, as so it should have, given it is a case against a boater with a proven home mooring being required to comply with 'continuous cruising' rules, writes Pam Pickett.

Legal action no doubt intended as a warning shot across the bows (or bank account) of us all that, regardless of the fact that some of us have a home mooring, we will all be treated as continuous cruisers when using our boats away from it.

Abuse and exceed the powers 

Basically it is a manifestation of CaRT's determination to abuse and exceed the powers given to its predecessors under the 1995 British Waterways Act with regard to whether boaters, having declared a home mooring must use that home mooring and also continuously cruise when away from it, the 1995 BW Act stipulating only the availability of a mooring where the boat may be lawfully and reasonably kept when not in use, as an alternative to continuous cruising. 

As a means to achieve this end they are also abusing and misusing other statutory powers under Section 3, for the definition of a houseboat, and Section 13 of the 1971 BW Act, for the removal and destruction of derelict and/or certificated houseboats and Section 8 of the 1983 BW Act, for the removal of abandoned, derelict or unlicenced boats. 

Not using home mooring

However, for those new to the case Tony Dunkley's licence was initially revoked by the Trust on the 3rd of January of this year on the grounds that he was not using his home mooring and was also overstaying on a visitor mooring. This was immediately followed by the serving of Section 8 and 13 removal Notices on Tony's boat. That the mooring in question was then proved not to be a visitor mooring, accompanied by an admission from CaRT that he had been moving away after a maximum of 14 days but returning afterwards, didn't however stop the Trust from pursuing the case, rather the reverse. If we can't get you because you are not contravening anything in any Statute, then we'll get you instead under 'what we wish was laid down' in the 1995 BW Act while choosing to ignore the parts of it that are inconvenient for us. 

The long and short of this case is that the Trust refused to believe that Tony Dunkley had a home mooring as his boat was in constant use and he preferred to moor in the Holme Lock area on the Trent instead of travelling back to his home mooring all the time. Although Tony cruised to and from this location and didn't stay more than the 14 days permitted (prior of course to his licence being revoked) the distance he covered was deemed by the Trust to be insufficient to comply with its new un-legislated rules. 


Tony Dunkley was then served with Claim seeking a Court Declaration that the Trust was entitled to remove his boat from its waters, and an Injunction preventing him from bringing it back. The Claim was issued under CaRT and Shoosmiths solicitors' much favoured and generally used, Part 8 of the Civil Procedure Rules, a County Court process intended for use only when there is unlikely to be any disagreement between the parties, hardly likely when the intention is to deprive someone of their home. 

The Court papers were served by the Trusts' solicitors on the last day of the 14 day period allowed by the Court for the named party to object to the use of the Part 8 process and file a Defence, and without the necessary information pack that would advise him of the necessity to file a defence with the Court. Had this omission not been noted and no defence been filed with the court CaRT would have had its Declaration and Injunction for the seizure and removal of Tony Dunkley's boat from its waters 'rubber stamped' by the Court. 

A boat that is his home. So in summary, the misuse and misrepresentation of powers under three different Acts of Parliament complemented by the late service of incomplete Court papers which could have resulted in a boater losing his property, and home, without ever having the opportunity to present any kind of defence in Court. 

CaRT's case in tatters 

Moving on however, following additional, previously un-requested proof of Tony Dunkley's home mooring being received by CaRT and the resulting legal obligation for the Trust to then re-licence his boat, CaRT has been left with its case in tatters, a case that it is now proven should never have been brought. This leaving the Trust with no alternative other than to end the proceedings. It is at this point that the case again becomes interesting as Tony Dunkley for obvious reasons was not happy that CaRT sought purely to withdraw in a way that left them free to re-start proceedings at will, and not required to reimburse him for the costs of defending himself against this unwarranted attack, so he insisted upon the Trust adhering to the discontinuance procedure called for in Part 38 Discontinuance of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) for County Courts. 

Reneged on the agreement

Although the Trust agreed to this immediately after issuing his new licence, it subsequently reneged on the agreement, and suggested that Tony signed a Consent Order which would leave both the Trust and himself in the situation described above. Tony refused to agree to sign the Consent Order drafted by Shoosmiths, the Trust's solicitors, and the Trust responded by filing an Application Notice in the Court asking for an Order for Discontinuance with 'no order as to costs', a departure from the CPR which can only be ordered by the Court in exceptional circumstances.

CaRT's Application reasoned that by buying a new licence for his boat (when it was due for renewal anyway) Tony had displayed unreasonable conduct and as a result had made their case (Claim) against him 'worthless and academic' and so it could not proceed. This despite the inconvenience and time consuming research Tony Dunkley, a layman without legal training has been subjected to, with the time taken to research the law to enable him to mount an effective defence, well in excess of 200 hours.


CaRT's Application Notice asked for the matter to be decided without a hearing, but this was rejected by a Judge and a hearing ordered for 24th November 2014. At the commencement of the Hearing to determine whether CaRT's attempt to avoid the liability for the Defendants' costs as laid down in CPR Part 38 Discontinuance was to succeed, Tony Dunkley, a boater whose life has been so needlessly disrupted by the actions of CaRT was subjected to what appeared to be some hostility from yet another different Judge, the fourth one now since commencement of proceedings, and I had the distinct feeling that it was thought that he was seeking only to take advantage of the situation to make money.

In the reality however, whilst following the time consuming inconvenience he felt recompense was in order, the major reason for his having insisted upon CaRT going down the route of discontinuance was that, should he continue to be hounded following the collapse of CaRT's case, the Trust would need to obtain the permission of the Court before again commencing 'substantially similar' proceedings against him.

Court lost submission

At the outset of the Hearing on the 24th November the Judge announced that Tony's submission to the court was missing, although the court had acknowledged receipt of this in writing. It is hard to believe and begs the question as to why the absence of this necessary submission was noted by the Judge only during, and not before the Hearing? Surely if the case paperwork had been placed before the Judge in advance of the hearing, this should have been noticed earlier?

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but surely it is incumbent upon a judge to assist a Litigant in Person that is after all a layman unable to afford legal representation, something that I certainly did not see happen here. With the Hearing now to be continued on a date to be set, and reserved to the same judge for a three hour Hearing, it seems given the attitude of the judge the Trust may feel quietly confident, not only that costs may not be awarded to Tony Dunkley, but that he could be called upon to pay the costs of this future three hour Hearing. Quite unbelievable!

Considerable sum of money

CaRTs money it seems could yet talk, let us though not forget that the Trust's money to which I refer is obtained from taxpayers, inclusive of those of us that use the waterways, thus is our money required for the upkeep of the navigations. At £200 an hour for the attendance of Shoosmiths solicitor alone, charged out by the day, a considerable sum of money has to date already been misspent for a Trust seeking 'friends' to finance it!

Time I'd have thought for the Trust to take a long hard look at the unworkable and illegal changes it is seeking to make to the effect of the 1995 British Waterways Act that can in the real world only result in further licence paying boaters being unjustifiably and expensively removed from its waters—the cost of the legally unsound enforcement actions it will be pursuing—and to take on board the consequences of those actions in relation to the revenue it so desperately needs! However, at this point an old saying comes to mind here, 'see that pig fly', a saying that had it arisen today could I feel have been coined specifically for our so uncharitable, 'charitable' Trust!

Now it seems we wait to see who 'blinks' first, or should the Hearing go ahead for the court ruling. Best to watch this space?''


If you challenge them they will get you and use public money and charitable donations to fund any action required from harassment, entrapment and provocation to legal action -involving various attempts to manipulate and corrupt the legal process.    As part of this they will try to run you out of money by running up your costs and the costs you are exposed to (their costs and court costs). 

I believe the case was brought because the Judge in my case gave me the 'get out' of paying for a mooring and never using it and thus avoiding the rules/restrictions of continuous cruising. They didn't like that. They wanted me off the canal as an example to others- and because it had become a 'personal' vendetta -  so they sought to change the 'rules' yet again with a court judgment from an action against someone deemed to be not using his mooring enough.   Previously they had not applied the mooring restrictions to those with a home mooring and I had been told that if I got a mooring I would be left alone.  Having limited funds and spending a lot of it on keeping a historic boat going I was not willing to pay for a 72ft mooring I didn't need and wouldn't use and was not wanting to sit, permanently, in one place..   I had previously acquired a marina mooring that and claimed housing benefit - actually to test the interpretation of the rules if I had a mooring - telling them exactly what I, and others, were being forced to do to avoid harassment and threats of legal action. They, eventually, stopped my payment).  

(Another application for housing benefit for a mooring someone was forced into taking - this on the towpath as the person refused to go into a marina - was refused and this endorsed on appeal. This decision was later overturned by the Social Security Commission).  

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Neutral Citation Number:  
Reported Number: R(H)9/08
File Number: CH 4250 2006
Judge/Commissioner: Judge H. Levenson 
Date Of Decision: 20/03/2008
Date Added: 11/04/2008
Main Category: Housing and council tax benefits
Main Subcategory: payments that are eligible for HB
Secondary Category:  
Secondary Subcategory:  
Notes: Housing benefit – eligible payments – mooring charges – meaning of “houseboat” The claimant was living on a canal narrow boat at a British Waterways mooring. He had no other home and the boat was fitted out for permanent residence. The boat was registered as a leisure craft and not as a houseboat. The claimant had a cruising licence. He was refused a mooring licence by British Waterways to continue at the mooring, where he had been for a couple of months, but he was unable to relocate the boat and stayed at the mooring. He was invoiced for mooring charges and he claimed housing benefit in respect of those mooring charges. The authority refused this claim on the basis there was no planning consent for residential use and also doubted that a residential narrow boat constituted a “houseboat” within the regulations. The claimant appealed. The tribunal upheld the decision of the authority, and the claimant appealed to the Commissioner. Held, allowing the appeal, that: 1. it was not relevant for the purposes of regulation 10 of the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations 1987 whether the use of the mooring was lawful or whether there was planning permission (paragraph 18); 2. regulation 10(1) provides that “ the payments in respect of which housing benefit is payable … are the following periodical payments which a person is liable to make in respect of the dwelling which he occupies as his home” and the mooring charges payable by the claimant came within this definition. It was not a necessary part of the concept of a “home” that there were facilities, utilities, shops or security arrangements (paragraph 17); 3. for the purposes of the housing benefit regulations, “houseboat” is an ordinary English word without a technical meaning. The tribunal was mistaken in its reliance on the lack of a licence for residential mooring and on the form of registration of the boat. It is a matter of fact in an individual case whether a boat is a “houseboat” (paragraphs 19 and 20); The Commissioner set aside the decision of the tribunal. He substituted his own decision that, subject to the satisfaction of other conditions of entitlement, the claimant was entitled to housing benefit.
Decision(s) to Download: R(H) 9-08 bv.doc R(H) 9-08 bv.doc  

The response to this was that BW closed down all the towpath moorings for new moorers, there being something of a 'purge' against 'liveaboard' boaters in the Cheshire area involving BW, the local council and the Shropshire Union Canal Society.  Also the local council did not want to encourage lots of people living permanently on the towpath claiming housing benefit.  I agree. That's why I told the person who got the decision to keep quiet about it.  



Here's another article.   From the Kennet and Avon Boating Community website.


'' Are you a new continuous cruiser?

When CRT established the Towpath Mooring Control project (which was quickly renamed the Towpath Mooring Management project) it declared its intention to write to all new continuous cruisers ‘welcoming’ them and setting out what CRT expected regarding boat movements. This was implemented from January 2014, according to the Towpath Mooring Management project report of the same month.

“From January 2014, everyone taking out a licence without a home mooring for the first time now receives a letter during the first month of their licence explaining how we monitor all boat movements, and that we will give them feedback regularly during their first year with early warnings if we believe they are not moving enough to qualify as a continuous cruiser.”

Those new boaters without home moorings whom CRT considered were not complying with its legal requirements after three months would get a first warning letter. If CRT considered they were still not complying after a further unspecified period they would get a second letter warning them that they would enter the enforcement process unless their boat movements changed. If CRT considered that their boat movements still did not comply with CRT’s legal requirements then it would refuse to renew their licence for the next year unless they took a permanent mooring.

The problem is, these letters are misleading new boaters about the law. CRT states in the first letter that the “definition of navigation implies a journey of some length” … “so you can’t shuffle to and fro in a small area just because that’s where your work or other commitments are”. This is just not true.

There is plenty of case law that defines navigation as “the action or practice of passing on water by vessels of all kinds” (Crown Estate Commissioners v Fairlie Yacht Slip [1979] SC156) or “to make ordered progression over the water from one place to another” (R v Goodwin [2006] 1 WLR 546).

Section 17 (3) of the British Waterways Act 1995 defines the conditions under which boats are licensed:

3) Notwithstanding anything in any enactment but subject to subsection (7) below, the Board may refuse a relevant consent in respect of any vessel unless—

(a) the applicant for the relevant consent satisfies the Board that the vessel complies with the standards applicable to that vessel;

(b) an insurance policy is in force in respect of the vessel and a copy of the policy, or evidence that it exists and is in force, has been produced to the Board; and

(c) either—

(i) the Board are satisfied that a mooring or other place where the vessel can reasonably be kept and may lawfully be left will be available for the vessel, whether on an inland waterway or elsewhere; or

(ii) the applicant for the relevant consent satisfies the Board that the vessel to which the application relates will be used bona fide for navigation throughout the period for which the consent is valid without remaining continuously in any one place for more than 14 days or such longer period as is reasonable in the circumstances.

Any so-called ‘legal requirements’ such as CRT’s Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring that require you to do more that what is stated in Section 17 3 c ii, are unlawful. Indeed, CRT’s Guidance does not state that “the definition of navigation implies a journey of some length”. When the Guidance was written in 2011 after the BW v Davies court case, the initial draft did include the phrase “a journey of some length” but this was removed from the final version. CRT took advice from its barrister Christopher Stoner QC before releasing the Guidance in October 2011.

After the BW v Davies judgement in 2011, BW was forced to amend its previous 2004 Mooring Guidance for Continuous Cruisers because the Judge decided that the 2004 Guidance was too onerous, setting requirements that were beyond BW’s legal powers to enforce.

It is not a co-incidence that CRT’s Enforcement Team has until recently reported to the Marketing Director Simon Salem. It is well known in the world of marketing that one of the best ways to persuade people to buy something is to make them afraid (the Listerine adverts on TV are a classic example). The second letter contains a threat that is not even veiled: “this could leave you with the stark choice … of moving off our canals and rivers”. What better way to sell moorings than making boat dwellers fearful of losing their homes?''


Since 2007 the objective of the increased harassment of those living on boats was to stock marinas and, thus, encourage the creation of more marinas.   BW, as it was then, promised marina developers that they would drive people into marinas through threats and harassment - called 'enforcement' to encourage the private development of marinas. They could then justify the charge of an exorbitant 'connection fee'.  

Thus people were hounded to go into a marina - unlawful, as no residential planning permission, and acknowledged by BW to be unlawful and generally a breach of the terms and conditions of the marina but, nonetheless 'encouraged', with threat of legal action and loss of your boat. Or go round and round the canal network forever in accordance with the, deliberately, punitive, unworkable, unreasonable, and unlawful, rules of continuous cruising.

If the 'boater' was driven from the canal they would not take their boat so that would be sold to someone else who would be pressurised to go into a marina. BW/CRT want the boat to extract revenue. They don't care who's on it.  

The new owner would be hounded from the start.  Move continuously or get a mooring (in a marina as most towpath moorings have been closed down.)  Hardly what the person would have intended.  Why would you buy a boat to sit in a marina?  Worse than any housing estate and much more restrictive than living in a house.  

People were encouraged to come onto the waterways , largely through television programmes which BW were involved with.  They painted the usual 'rosy' picture of life on the waterways to increase the number of boats. Boats were sold as 'ideal liveaboard'. Many were sold as 'sailaways'. You then had to fit them out. You can't work on your boat in a marina, you have to do it on the towpath.   You then find you are harassed to move or get a 'mooring' in a marina (where you can't work on your boat) and may be told, as in many cases, that you can't work on your boat on the towpath.    What you must do is keep moving, pointlessly, for no good reason other than as a constant reminder that you are being watched and are under threat and you have probably made a big mistake in thinking you can live on a boat so you'd better go in a marina or get off the canal if you want to be left in peace. This, frequently expressed in 'no uncertain terms' including 'We can do what we like to you and you can't do anything about it'.           

They particularly, and deliberately (and cynically and callously), targeted older people and those with a health problem as they could be rehoused in sheltered accommodation. A tactic employed by caravan parks to get rid of older residents with older caravans. This is what was happening in the area where I was moored at the time, Northwich, and why I raised concerns and objections with the local manager, Julie Sharman. The start of my challenges to BW leading to all of this. This in 2007.

So, back to the marina development. The marinas, mostly, didn't get the customers they were promised. Some couldn't, or wouldn't - realising they had been conned - pay the exorbitant connection fee and the marinas were 'acquired' by BWML - British Waterways Marinas Limited - a private subsidiary of BW. Their 'development strategy' was stated as 'development by acquisition'.   Suitably self explanatory.  

BWML marinas, of course, did not have to pay the connection fee. 

No profit from these marinas went to BW to maintain the canals but was used for further marina development (by 'acquisition').  Why create so many marinas when interest in the canals is declining?  What is the ultimate objective? (Many will eventually become floating 'shanty towns).   

Another article relating to the Judgment in my case. 


''A JUDGMENT in a Canal & River Trust Section 8 court case confirms that it would be unlawful for the Trust to set a minimum distance that continuous cruisers must travel to comply with the law, and CaRT knew this for over a year but kept it secret!

This shoots down in flames its rules that continuous cruisers must move its defined lock/ miles and not immediately return to the same place, as the judgement also states a continuous cruiser can do exactly that. This judgment was handed down in November 2013 but CaRT has not published it, unlike other judgments in Section 8 cases. Yet despite knowing about this judgment for a year, CaRT is still currently attempting to set a minimum distance that continuous cruisers must travel in order to comply with the law!

Not required to use its mooring

To add to CaRT's woes the judge in the case, HHJ Halbert, stated that a boat with a permanent mooring is not required ever to use its mooring, though the Trust had been trying to enforce that it should.

The judgement in the case of CaRT v Mayers states that repeated journeys between the same two places would be 'bona fide navigation' if the boater had specific reason for making repeated journeys over the same stretch of canal. HHJ Halbert also stated that any requirement by CaRT to use a substantial part of the canal network was not justified by Section 17(3)(c)(ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995 because the requirement to use the boat for bona fide navigation is 'temporal not geographical'.

Did not disclose judgement

CaRT held two meetings with boating user groups on 22nd September and 3rd November 2014 in which it tried to persuade the groups to agree a minimum distance that boaters without home moorings must travel every three months and over their licence year to avoid enforcement action.

CaRT did not disclose this judgment at either meeting.

The history

In 2011, BW re-wrote the Mooring Guidance for Continuous Cruisers to remove the words 'the law requires a genuine progressive journey (a cruise) around the network or a significant part of it' as a result of the judgment in British Waterways v Davies, reported in narrowboatworld. (BW slammed over 'precedent' statement). The guidance was renamed Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring.

In 2003, British Waterways tried to introduce the Draft Moorings Code or Lock Miles Rules, which would have required continuous cruisers to travel at least 120 different lock-miles every three months without using the same stretch twice. This draconian proposal was dropped by British Waterways following the threat of legal action by a boating user group and in 2004 the Mooring Guidance for Continuous Cruisers was published instead.

Tony Dunkley

Yet in spite of this judgement CaRT started court action in early 2014 against a boat dweller Tony Dunkley, that was widely publicised in narrowboatworld, (The Tony Dunkley fiasco) who did not use his home mooring. It has now dropped the Section 8 claim against liveaboard Tony Dunkley. And of course we know realise why!

So the whole set of continuous cruising and mooring rules CaRT has been trying to force upon boaters is unlawful, and have been so for over a year, yet it still attempted to implement them!

The judgement

The relevant paragraphs of the CaRT v Mayers judgement are reproduced below:

I consider the requirement imposed by CaRT that a substantial part of the network is used cannot be justified by relying solely on section 17(3). That section requires 'bona fide navigation throughout the period of the 
licence' not 'bona fide navigation throughout the canal network'. The requirement is temporal not geographical. In my view it does NOT follow from:

Such journey or cruise must take place 'throughout the period of the licence.' that it' therefore requires progression round the network or at least a significant part of it.

If a person who lived permanently on his or her boat had specific reason for making repeated journeys over the same stretch of canal between two points sufficiently far apart to be regarded as different places, it would in my view be purposeful movement by water from one place to another and hence 'bona fide navigation'. In the course of argument I used the example of someone who lived on his boat but was also using the vessel commercially to move coal from a mine to an iron foundry only a few miles away and then returning empty for another load.

To take an extreme example, in its heyday, the Mersey Ferry operated continuously to and fro over the same stretch of water which is less than a mile wide. No one would ever have accepted the suggestion that the ferry boats were not bona fide used for navigation throughout the period of their operations.

There are clear anomalies in both positions. CaRT clearly regard the occupation of moorings by permanently resident boat owners who do not move very much as a significant problem (see paragraphs 3.5 and 3.6 above). However, neither the statutory regime in subsection 17(3) nor the guidelines can deal with this problem. A boat which has a home mooring is not required to be 'bona fide used for navigation throughout the period of the licence' but neither is it required ever to use its home mooring. The Act requires the mooring to be available, it does not say it must be used.

The guidelines also have this effect. The boat is still subject to the restriction that it must not stay in the same place for more than 14 days but there is nothing whatever to stop it being shuffled between two locations quite close together provided they are far enough apart to constitute different places. If those who are causing the overcrowding at popular spots have home moorings anywhere in the country the present regime cannot control their overuse of the popular spots. Such an owner could cruise to and fro along the Kennet & Avon canal near Bristol and the home mooring could be in Birmingham and totally unused.''


The Judge was quite clear in the court that if I got a mooring I could then move without restrictions as I said I wanted to do. I never said I wanted to stay in one place, merely, in the area as was permitted by the 1995 Waterways Act and by the qualification to the 14 day rule of 'as is reasonable in the circumstances'. I had a need for medical care in an ongoing series of clinical investigations. (My barrister pursued an argument that I wanted to stay in the one place which I had previously refuted. I had had multiple organ failure as a result of a chest infection - following pneumonia and septicaemia - and was having tests and investigations on my liver so needed to stay in the area).

The Judge saw that as a reasonable solution, i.e. BW find me a mooring, having been told there were 9 moorings available to me starting at £20 per week.  A deliberate lie. There were no 'lawful' moorings, no genuinely available moorings and none at £20 per week. (For a 72 ft boat.  I don't think so.).

Due to the lies, the inaccurate representation of my case, my limited opportunity to speak, my barrister being off sick for 2 days and lack of knowledge of everyone but myself, the Judge didn't have a hope of gaining a full understanding of the case.   But, he could assess the legality of the requirement of the 1995 Act as against the rules of continuous cruising so that part of the Judgment is sound and reasonable.  

The Judge made CRT give an Undertaking to the Court that I could remain on the waterways subject to negotiating an agreement which would probably involve me obtaining a 'mooring'. They were unwilling to agree to this and, subsequently, breached that agreement (Contempt of Court) and 'seized' my boat. I had this Undertaking clarified at a hearing I requested, having obtained a 'Stay of Execution' of the Court Order that had been granted, at a hearing I was told had been cancelled, that allowed the seizure of my boat on the last working day before Christmas, 2013.     Obviously planned to cause me, and my cat, maximum inconvenience and distress (to say the least) and orchestrated in such a way as to obtain an order for £80,000 of costs which the Judge overturned at the subsequent hearing.

CRT were determined to get me off the waterways as a malicious act and to serve as an example to others. And have since shown a similar attitude in several cases when their unlawful demands are challenged.