The police monitoring network, Netpol, has launched an initiative to fund legal advice for anti-fracking groups facing civil action.
Netpol said last night the fund had been kick-started with a substantial donation from the Humanade foundation, established in memory of the artist, Malcolm McLaren, who died in 2010.
Yesterday McLaren’s son, Joe Corre, appeared at the High Court in London as one of two people challenging an injunction brought by the shale gas company, INEOS Upstream (DrillOrDrop report).
The injunction covers INEOS sites and offices, property belonging to landowners who have leased sites to the company, routes to potential shale gas operations and premises belonging to the INEOS supply chain. It seeks to prevent interference of activities carried out by INEOS, its contractors and members of the supply chain across the country.
Lawyers for Mr Corre and the other challenger, Joe Boyd, described the injunction as premature, draconian and an unlawful breach of the human rights of protesters.
Netpol said the new fund would provide money for legal advice to campaign groups on challenging:
- Injunctions against establishing anti-fracking camps
- Possession orders to evict camps
- Orders believed to interfere with rights to freedom of assembly under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights
- Allegations of defamation in newsletters or publicity
The group said threats of civil action often caused considerable alarm.
“This is invariable exacerbated by the obstacles to seeking expert legal advice. Civil legal aid is rarely available and representation is often expensive.”
The fund does not cover criminal legal proceedings, Netpol Said. Campaign groups need to apply for funding for civil advice through a solicitor.
The Activists Legal Action Fund is also seeking donations.