Ineos fracking protest injunction to be challenged at appeal court

171022 INEOS protest picture

Photo: Adela Redston

Two environmental campaigners who challenged Ineos’ injunction against shale gas protests have won the right to go to the Court of Appeal.

Joe Corre and Joseph Boyd Ian R Crane

Joe Corre (left) and Joe Boyd. Photo: Ian Crane

Joe Corre (left) and Joe Boyd failed to block the injunction at a three-day hearing at the High Court in October and November 2017 (DrillOrDrop report). And in December 2017, the judge, Mr Justice Morgan, refused them permission to pursue their case (details)

But their application to the Court of Appeal has been successful. Mr Corre has been granted permission to pursue his case on one ground and Mr Boyd on three.

The campaigners had described the injunction has “unprecedented” and “draconian”. Their legal teams argued it was already having a “chilling effect” on the debate about fracking.

Since the hearing, UK Oil & Gas and Cuadrilla have applied for similar injunctions.

Mr Boyd, who is raising money for his case through the Crowdjustice website, said:

“It is fantastic news, particularly as Cuadrilla is applying on many of the same grounds.

“This shows that it is not a strictly clear cut case as some of the industry’s legal teams are trying to make out.

“It is definitely a step in the right direction. It is a case of national importance.”

Referring to recently announced government proposals to take fracking decisions out of national control, he said:

“It will give everyone in the anti-fracking movement a boost at a time when the government is trying to override local democracy. It will give people their spirit back.”

He has been allowed to appeal on three of his six grounds. These are the Human Rights Act aspects of the case, the injunction on protests against the supply chain and the fact that the injunction was against person’s unknown.

In court papers issued today, Lady Justice Asplin said “There is a real prospect of success” on these three grounds. On the Human Rights Act, she said “It is arguable that the [High Court] Judge did not apply the correct test” or “conduct a proper analysis of the evidence”.

On the supply chain injunction, she said there was a “compelling reason why it should be heard on appeal”. She said it was “arguable that the judge erred in extending the scope of unlawful means conspiracy in the way he did”.

Mr Corre said tonight:

“It is very good news that we can present our case at the Court of Appeal. If we are successful it could have a domino effect against copy cat injunctions like those sought by UKOG and Cuadrilla.”

He was granted permission to appeal on one of his four grounds: against the “person’s unknown” aspect of the injunction.

On this ground, Lady Justice Asplin said:

“Having considered the authorities the Judge stated that the course was open to the Claimant/Respondents. It is arguable that the course was wrong in the light of reliance upon conduct of specific individuals and without consideration of the factors relevant to such an exceptional course.”

The injunction prohibited people from interfering with the lawful activities of Ineos staff and contractors. People who breached the order risked prison, fines or seizure of their assets.

The order prevented trespass and what was described as unlawful and unreasonable obstruction of the highway. This included slow walking, climbing on vehicles and lock-on protests or a combination of them.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Morgan rejected the campaigners’ arguments that the injunction was unnecessary and that INEOS had misled the court at a private hearing in July when the order was first granted.

He also dismissed the claim that the injunction would complicate the position of the police.

Ineos had claimed it faced “a real threat” of interference from protests. DrillOrDrop invited Ineos to comment on tonight’s development. This post will be updated with any response.

19 replies »

  1. Excellent news – thank you and very well done to Joe and Joe, their lawyers and Lady Justice Asplin💚🕊🤗

  2. Doesn’t seem to have given one of them a boost, GBK!

    Quite an interesting comment that, from Mr. Boyd. There has definitely been a cloud of despair over the antis recently, as represented on DOD.

    So, what happens if they lose-again?

    • The announcements this week from both Government and Cuadrilla, seem to have brought a change of attitude and plans to PNR.
      They brought the caravan out early that was clearly intended for the lock around the clock week. Are we watching the last acts of desperation?

      • If they lose again and Ineos obtain their injunction we ALL will lose. It will open the floodgates to the removal of freedom of speech, freedom of expression and the Human Right to protest in this increasingly undemocratic country. What may seem like a victory to the frackers would soon be recognised as the beginning of a very slippery slope and will not be forgiven.

    • After witnessing the corruption at Government and Industry level for almost 5 years Martyn. There would be something seriously wrong if you didn’t despair from time to time. Thankfully, we don’t despair as much as Lynn Calder and Ken Cronin because we have truth on our side.

  3. I guess they’d take it to Supreme Court. Going to get very expensive but Corre is a multi millionaire who can finance it, I don’t think there are caps on environmental cases at this level, I could look it up but I’m enjoying the sunshine.
    I’m not remotely concerned about this one, yes the judges start to get slightly more left of the playing field as they have generally forgotten what reality looks like on the ground level. That being said they are generally exceptionally clever people and it’s up to our side to communicate our case correctly. Our side has the far stronger argument and can back it up with plenty of examples.

  4. “Truth on our side”!!!

    Ermm-that’s why you continue to lose the Court cases??

    I think you will find it is exactly the opposite-in the real world.

    The elephant in the room, GBK, is that as fracking gets closer, and then occurs, the antis can not discipline their hangers on, and there will be more and more repeats of the problems that have already arisen-which is more and more video and text evidence to submit to the Court. So, the higher/longer it goes, the weaker the evidential argument for the antis and the stronger the argument for the companies. The best opportunity was the initial hearing, and that has been rejected.

  5. Actually, the first hearing was always going to be the most difficult because we were in a business court. Looks like all these injunctions are on shaky ground (very fitting after Professor Styles report this week) now that we move up to the human rights levels.

  6. Excellent news! Well done Joe & Joe and huge gratitude for your for hard work and great determination ! Alan Scott

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