Hearing Starts Tomorrow!
I am ready to challenge the unprecedented pre-emptive injunction granted to Ineos which is having the effect of stopping protests at its fracking sites, its suppliers’ sites and more widely in relation to its business activities. Co-leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas MP has provided a witness statement in support of my case which will be heard in the Chancery Division of the High Co...Read More >>
INEOS, a manufacturer of chemicals involved in fracking, was granted an injunction – that seriously limits protest against its activities
At a hearing on 27 July 2017, INEOS, a privately owned global manufacturer of chemicals, involved in fracking, was granted a wide-ranging injunction, seriously limiting the right of people to protest against their activities and those of companies linked to them.
Since learning about the injunction, which was granted against “persons unknown”, I have been working alongside solicitors from the law firm Leigh Day and barristers Heather Williams QC and Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh, as a named Defendant so that I can challenge its legality and try to prevent it being renewed.
In my four years of campaigning against the fracking industry in the UK, I have consistently seen the role of protesting as a fight for democracy at both a local and national level. This temporary injunction, if renewed at the hearing on 12 September will be an unprecedented and long-term affront to our right to lawful protest.
The hearing – nobody else was represented
The injunction was granted at an ex-parte hearing at which nobody else but INEOS and landowners who have leased land to them was represented, so there was no chance to mount a Defence to the proceedings. As a result people who oppose the fracking industry, including protesters such as myself, had no way of challenging the application or seeking to mitigate its impact on lawful protest.
INEOS states that it is not against peaceful, legitimate protest but that is exactly what the injunction stops us from being able to do at the eight sites covered by the injunction, which cover areas all across England, as well as in relation to a large number of other companies associated with INEOS.
Penalties for breaching the injunction
An arrest for breach of this injunction, which could simply be for slow walking on a public pavement outside a protest site, will be in contempt of court and the protester will be liable for up to six months imprisonment and or fine up to £5,000.
Our argument will take place on 12 Septemer
Our argument at the hearing on 12 September will be that the terms of the interim injunction breach Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantee the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association. By putting myself forward as a named defendant in these proceedings, I want to ensure that we as local people, citizens and campaigners still have the right to hold peaceful protests against the fracking industry and those involved in it.
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Hearing Starts Tomorrow!
I am ready to challenge the unprecedented pre-emptive injunction granted to Ineos which is having the effect of stopping protests at its fracking sites, its suppliers’ sites and more widely in relation to its business activities. Co-leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas MP has provided a witness statement in support of my case which will be heard in the Chancery Division of the High Court from tomorrow.
We have a Court date in October!
On 12 September 2017, at the first hearing in this case that was not held behind closed doors, I and another Defendant, Joe Corré, successfully rebutted an attempt by INEOS to make permanent their temporary injunction, which severely curtails the right to protest against their fracking activities.
A further hearing has been scheduled, to start on the 30 or 31 October 2017. It will last three days. The Court will hear detailed argument from our legal teams, setting out why the draconian anti-fracking protest injunction sought in secret by INEOS should not continue. This will require detailed and lengthy preparation, and I am seeking your assistance to ensure that my dedicated legal team is able to devote the necessary time to the important task.
I stepped forward to challenge this injunction because I believe that it represents an unprecedented attack not only on our ability as citizens to protest against the activities of the fracking industry, and the harm they are capable of causing to our health, our countryside and our climate, but also on the right to freedom of peaceful protest and assembly more generally, which could have far reaching ramifications. I am deeply concerned about the breadth of the interim injunction, which INEOS seeks to have made permanent, and about the chilling impact it is already having on legitimate protest and assembly across the country.
Although this injunction concerns the anti-fracking movement, I believe that the issues at stake go far wider, and go to the core of the right to protest which has always been, and must be permitted to continue to be, a fundamental aspect of peaceful political action in our society. Without the right to protest effectively, our ability as citizens to peacefully challenge injustices in society and the interests of powerful corporations will be severely curtailed.
Join me in fighting for our countryside, our climate and for that important right to protest in challenging this unprecedented injunction.
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