Anti-fracking campaigner tells court: “I won’t pay Cuadrilla’s £55k legal bill”

Tina Rothery 1

Tina Rothery (front centre) with supporters outside Blackpool Law Courts this morning

Prominent anti-fracking campaigner, Tina Rothery, refused this morning to pay legal fees amounting to more than £55,000 in a dispute with the shale gas company, Cuadrilla.

Speaking outside Blackpool Law Courts, Ms Rothery said

“I will not pay, even if I could, now or ever. This is my line in the sand.”

Ms Rothery had been ordered to attend a session with court officials to provide information about her finances. Afterwards she told a crowd of about 150 supporters from across the UK that the court process was unjust and she refused to engage with it.

Cuadrilla said it would be considering its next step. (See the end of this post for the company’s full statement).

Long-running action

The claim against Ms Rothery dates back to a hearing in the High Court in Manchester nearly two years ago.

In August 2014, Cuadrilla took legal action to evict anti-fracking campaigners camping in a field near a site at Little Plumpton where it had applied for permission to frack.

Cuadrilla argued that the occupation had caused disruption and distress to the farmer’s family and his business.

The company also sought an injunction on behalf of a group of landowners to prevent members of national and local anti-fracking groups from entering land throughout the Fylde.

Ms Rothery asked for an adjournment to allow campaigners to challenge the injunction. At the next hearing, when the injunction was granted unopposed, part of Cuadrilla’s legal costs were awarded against her as the only named defendant. Since then, interest has been added at 8%. The current total is £55,342.37. DrillOrDrop report on the background to the case.

“I am Tina Rothery”

Tina Rothery 5

In the run-up to today’s case, supporters mounted a campaign on social media #I am Tina Rothery, inspired by the Spartacus story. This morning they arrived wearing Tina Rothery masks. Some joined Ms Rothery in wearing yellow aprons, the unofficial uniform of the Lancashire nanas anti-fracking group.

Outside the court, she said:

“This is not about me. This is about us being united.”

She likened her situation to calling on a childhood friend to face the school bully.

“Look what you did. You turned up.

“You achieved today what I could not achieve alone: strength, solidarity and unity.”

She said the legal system was being abused. Referring to the court, she said:

“These places are supposed to seek genuine justice.

“This is unjust: £55,000 for camping in a field, doing no damage and exercising a right to protest peacefully.”

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Tina Rothery (right) before entering the court

Ms Rothery said instead of providing financial information to the court, she had made this statement to the official:

“With respect to the District Judge and the courts I have huge admiration for a system of justice that is fair but I feel in this case that our law courts are not being used to seek justice but instead being applied like a weapon and a threat against peaceful protest.

“The fact that Cuadrilla has the finances, power and vindictiveness to pursue this through our courts is an abuse of one of the most valued aspects of our democracy. 

“So please accept my apologies if this seems rude but as this case has nothing to do whatsoever with justice, I will not be complying with any requests  for information or payment.

To cheers from supporters, she concluded:

I make this statement on behalf of myself and an entire movement who will not be bullied.”

Bailiff in a stab vest

Ms Rothery said she had been pursued for the costs across Yorkshire in May by a bailiff in a stab vest..

“I am just a regular citizen. I didn’t do anything dangerous but I am being treated like a criminal.”

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Ms Rothery said if Cuadrilla chose to pursue her then a date would be set for her case to go before a judge. She added:

“I brought a few mates this time. If they chose to take it to the next step, you wait until next time.”

Cuadrilla comment

A spokesperson for Cuadrilla said today:

“Today Ms Rothery was asked to provide information to a Court Officer on her financial means. This is because she has failed to comply with an Order the Court made against her in October 2014 to pay costs as a result of trespass on private farmland in August 2014.

“Ms Rothery asked to be a named defendant in the original trespass case and was informed by the Court at the time that, as a result, an order for costs could be made against her.

“Whilst we respect the right of legal, peaceful protest, in this instance the Lancashire farmers were subjected to this trespass by hundreds of trespassers over a prolonged period.

“They will now consider next steps. Cuadrilla is fully supporting the local farmers in this”.

Updated 25/6/2016 with exact wording of Ms Rothery’s statement to the court official

39 replies »

  1. Oh dear poor Tina….Where can i send a 1p contribuition towards her £55k ???? Of course without a stamp ! Tresspassing is ILLEGAL ! Surely even a apron wearing NIMBY would know that!

  2. Ms. Rothrey is partially correct, she didn’t do anything dangerous although even that statement could be argued against, but she, and others did do something illegal, they trespassed.

    Illegal plain and simple no matter what side of the fence you sit on.

    Now she is challenging the legal system and the law by daring Cuadrilla and in fact the U.K. legal system to take action against her.

    My view is this person is hoping Cuadrilla and the land-owner will enforce the court ruling and continue their collective right to cost compensation, and then cry foul, cry hard done by, cry bullying by corporations against an ordinary, innocent member of the community.

    Ms. Rothrey nobody, no business, no corporation is above the law of the country irrespective of the offence.

    You may see yourself as some sort of matyr but in reality you are a law breaker and rightly so you should face the consequences.

  3. How proud Lisa? Proud enough to send her some financial contribution so she can pay her fine? Talk is cheap Lisa.

  4. Just bully boys and corporate goons. Just do some research on what happens when you let land be fracked. Look in Australia, America, Canada. When you see someone trying to commit ecocide then there is a certain amount of non violent direct action that has legal precedent. Self defence of a community. Thoughts and prayers for justice.

  5. But she was protesting about an industry that intends to cause untold damage to our environment, you know, like most protesters, she and thousands of others like her are prepared to stand up and be counted when bureaucrats and CEO of powerful companies decide to make a fast buck and destroy our countryside and way of life. Like erm … Emily Pankhurst did with the suffragettes, you know when the men in this great country felt the women were not entitled to vote, to the detriment of this country. Without people like Tina standing up to these bullies we would still be back in the mind numbing 18th century.

  6. Like all the matyr including the radical ones they think they’re saving the world and humanity by breaking the law and achieve their stardom by doing something illegal. And like all matyr they think they are always right and above human laws.

    • Well she done far more than you lot are doing for a brilliant cause, you are obviously oblivious to the dangers of fracking and what it can do to our drinking water. I’d say fracking is illegal and far outweighs what this ordinary woman was doing. You should be ashamed of yourselves and standing united with her not against her. Look up Queensland and part of America, get of your arses and do the research because you may just find that this remarkable lady has and realises just how dangerous and threatening fracking is towards humanity.

      • Jo, Linda, Lisa, Lisette, Ross, Bryn, the list of names goes on and on, there is the cliff that Ms. Rothrey leapt off, aren’t you all going to follow?

      • I would agree with all of your comments if you and others help to chip in to fund her cost of this activity that you all seem to admire.

        • Tina has said quite clearly she wants no one to ‘chip in’ because she has no intention of paying Cuadrilla a penny.

          • She should look good in prison stripes Pauline don’t you think?

            Shame on your pathetic lot for abandoning her, letting her take the rap for a crime committed by at least a hundred of your motley brigade.

            • You are being very silly, trespass is a civil offense and so no she won’t be going to prison, although I’m sure you’d love her too.

              Cuadrilla are trying to bully protesters when they are nothing but a set of two bit shell companies.

    • I’d hardly call putting a section 6 around a field to highlight where fracking was due to take place a a leap to stardom.
      Had the best practices of community engagement been undertaken in the first place none of this would have been necessary.

  7. fracking is not only polluting our water but also causing land movement and polluting rivers , streams and if they are not stopped it will be everybodys kids suffering, [edited by moderator] , stop the frackers before its too late , did you know lots of shale deposits were located around westminster but they were denied drilling rights errrm wonder why !

  8. Talk alone IS cheap Michael, but in case you’re missing the point, fear not. We’re all about action 🙂

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