Appeal filed against sweeping anti-protest injunction in #IneosvThePeople

Protesters against the fracking industry have lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal against a sweeping anti-protest injunction granted to a multinational fracking company.


In an unprecedented decision last July, INEOS – the fracking company which has been awarded the most fracking licences by the UK Government – was granted a pre-emptive, ex parte injunction against protests at eight sites across England where fracking is planned or under investigation by INEOS. In a concerning development, the injunction extended to contractors, subcontractors and other entities which make up INEOS’ ‘supply chain’.


Environmental activists Joseph Boyd, represented by Heather Williams QC, Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh and Jennifer Robinson with Leigh Day Solicitors, and fellow campaigner, Joseph Corré, represented by Stephanie Harrison QC and Stephen Simblett of Garden Court and Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, applied to the court to have the injunction discharged.


In December the High Court upheld and renewed the injunction with the effect that campaign groups and individuals are prevented from being able to protest at fracking sites without the immediate threat of arrest and fines for contempt of court. The injunction was addressed to “persons unknown” (that is, the world at large), spurring the campaign hashtag #INEOSvThePeople.


The effect of the injunction is that individuals will be in contempt of court if they engage in a variety of different forms of protests, such as slow-walking, which have not previously been held to be unlawful in all circumstances. An arrest for breach of this injunction could result in a prison sentence of up to two years and/or a fine up to £5,000. The injunction has implications for all social movements and their right to freedom of speech and assembly.


Without the efforts of Joe Boyd and Joe Corré to represent “persons unknown”, the status quo of this injunction will continue unchallenged. Joe Boyd’s ongoing legal challenges against the injunction can be supported through the Crowd Justice campaign here.

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