Legal precedent and costs are major hurdles to challenging fracking injunctions, campaigners say

180711 Ian Crane and Ben Dean Elspeth McRobert

Anti-fracking campaigners, Ian Crane and Ben Dean, taking documents to Manchester Civil Justice Centre for the Cuadrilla injunction hearing, 10 July 2018. Photo: Elspeth McRoberts

Campaigners who failed to block an injunction against protests outside Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking site said the fight was not over. But they said case law and the cost of legal action were major hurdles.

The injunction remains a temporary one and it could be taken to trial at any point. But Ian Crane and Bob Dennett, who argued against the terms of the order yesterday, said continuing the challenge would need professional help and a change in legal precedent.

The injunction, granted this afternoon at the High Court in Manchester, applies to the Preston New Road site near Blackpool until 1 June 2020.

This afternoon, Judge Mark Pelling approved an order that prohibited:

  • Trespass at the site
  • Unlawful obstruction of the site entrance and adjacent A583, including lock-ons, climbing onto lorries and slow walking
  • Unlawful disruption of eight suppliers, including Cuadrilla’s lawyers, and 11 Cuadrilla companies

Anyone found to have breached the order could be in contempt of court and risk prison, fines or seizure of assets.

Cuadrilla welcomed the injunction this evening, saying it was “an important deterrent to unlawful protest that has significantly disrupted and inconvenienced local commuters and businesses.”

Mr Crane, who developed his case with a team of campaigners and no professional legal help, said:

“Unfortunately for the Cuadrilla application, Judge Pelling has set the bar very low. It really is not very difficult for a company to get an injunction.”

At the first hearing, at the end of May, Cuadrilla argued that it faced an imminent threat of protest from the Block Around the Clock action planned for June by the campaign group, Reclaim the Power. That passed off peacefully with no arrests, despite a 54-hour blockade of the Preston New Road site entrance.

Mr Crane said:

“This time round they were not going to get the injunction on imminent threat. They were seeking the injunction on a generic threat.

“Would that meet the legal test of being likely to succeed at a trial? We don’t know but it is not something we can take on as litigants-in-person.

“If it were going to trial it would need to be taken on by a legal team.”

Mr Crane said three recent injunction cases, brought by Ineos, Cuadrilla and UKOG, demonstrated, in his words, that “parliamentary democracy is being subordinated by the civil courts”.

During the Cuadrilla hearing, Judge Pelling said he was limited in what he could take into account in the challengers’ evidence by a ruling at the Court of Appeal in the case of City of London versus Samede.

This case, involving members of the Occupy movement, concluded that judges could take account of the “general character of the views” of defendants. But it said this “cannot be a factor which trumps all others, and indeed it is unlikely to be a particularly weighty factor: otherwise judges would find themselves according greater protection to views which they think important, or with which they agree.”

Mr Crane said:

“Cuadrilla can get a ruling, as the court heard yesterday, based on conjecture, hearsay and exaggeration of an imminent threat. But because of City of London vs Samede, the court cannot take account of our evidence in scientific and academic studies proving an imminent threat that the shale gas industry brings to the environment, health, ecology of local communities.

“The barrier to challenge this is costs and, until such a time as City of London vs Samede is overruled, there is unlikely to be any different result in these cases.

“The whole issue of keeping all the academic, scientific and experiential evidence out of consideration is a major hurdle.”

But Mr Crane added:

“If we had not stepped up as named defendants this would have gone through unchallenged. We got some changes to the detail of the order at the first hearing. But now we have taken it as far as we can. If it is to go to the next stage it needs Lancashire to get legal representation and take this to trial.”

Mr Crane’s case ran to around 2,000 pages of evidence. Even though the court could not consider it, he said it was the first time in a fracking injunction case that campaigners had included in the legal bundles scientific evidence on health impacts.

“The industry now knows that once City of London vs Samede is overturned all this material has been compiled.”

“It’s not over”

180711 Ian Crane Bob Dennett and Ben Dean by Elspeth McRoberts

Bob Dennett (right) with Ian Crane and supporter, Ben Dean (left) before the hearing, 10 July 2018. Photo: Elspeth McRoberts

The other defendant in the case, Bob Dennett, said after the hearing:

“I had been cautiously optimistic. Now I am very disappointed. But it is not over yet. I do not give up.”

The co-leader of the Green Party, Jonathan Bartle, said:

“This is an incredibly sad day for the right to protest peacefully. We’re bitterly disappointed by this result, but the fight will continue and we will stand together with all those resisting this destructive industry.”

Mr Bartley said the Green Party would continue to stand behind the local community in its struggle against Cuadrilla.

“Deterrent to unlawful protest”

Francis Egan 9 Lancashire for Shale

Francis Egan. Photo: Lancashire for Shale

Francis Egan, Chief Executive of Cuadrilla, said:

“We are very pleased that the High Court has seen fit to extend the injunction until 1 June 2020.

“We firmly believe that this is an important deterrent to unlawful protest that has significantly disrupted and inconvenienced local commuters and businesses over many months. We have seen a welcome reduction in unlawful behaviour since the interim injunction was granted last month.

“We continue to respect lawful and peaceful protest, but will not hesitate to take legal action against those that breach the injunction with unlawful activity directed against us or our listed suppliers.”


Documents in the case:

List of protected suppliers:

Breaking news from DrillOrDrop on the hearing result

DrillOrDrop report of the hearing on 10 July 2018

Reporting on this case was made possible by individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers

54 replies »

  1. Thank you Bob Dennett, Ian R Crane, and Ben Dean for all your efforts, your case evidence will indeed be important in the future, it does seem that it is the precedent case: the City of London vs Samede that needs to be specifically fought in the courts before any progress can be made.

    I think that Newton’s Third Law of Motion springs to mind: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. and it is that to which we work towards.

    • Well this is Ian R Cranes report today on the In Junk Sham proceedings and the results that bear more scrutiny for future actions.

      ( )

      Thanks Ian and everyone for your efforts in attempting to bring reason and sanity to the proceedings, blocked by nothing more than the odd concept of legal precedent?

      Some of us are at least aware of and grateful for the personal sacrifices that such as you and your colleagues have made in this.

      Even Cuadrillas legal team were embarrassed at what they had to witness? There are still some human beings out there it seems, even in situations such as “demonstrated” here by corporate greed overturning human rights and democracy?

      All it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing, that is something we see everywhere now isn’t it?

      That is how entire civilisations fall.

      Also a big thank you to Ruth Hayhurst and Drill Or Drop for this report of the events, without which we would be even further in the dark secretive world of corporate demonocracy?

      We have yet to see any thanks for Ruth’s efforts from the anti antis it seems?

      Just more bitter rhetoric, oh well, we did not expect anything else really did we? Same old same old?

      What does that tell us? Something to do with cuckoos perhaps? Which is actually entirely applicable to the entire present fracking industry situation isn’t it?
      Laying their poisonous “eggs” everywhere and kicking out the locals? Never was an allegory more apt?

      Strange days indeed?

      • and some good news….
        Gerry Liston at Global Legal Action Network, who drafted the bill, said: “Governments will not meet their obligations under the Paris agreement on climate change if they continue to financially sustain the fossil fuel industry. Countries the world over must now urgently follow Ireland’s lead and divest from fossil fuels.”
        Well done Ireland! A small step for humankind….

        • Good news Sherwulfe, lets kick all the Madwytch farm cuckoos out of our nests, and give them a taste of their own medicine.

            • No investment, no gas, no oil, no coal, no electricity, no heating, no plastic, no thousands of other things, simple? Of course Ireland doesn’t have any oil / gas / coal (only peat) so they rely on imports.

            • ‘Of course Ireland doesn’t have any oil / gas / coal (only peat) so they rely on imports’

              Wrong again

              ‘For the first time since the late 1990’s we are in a position to meet 58% of our gas needs from indigenous resources at Corrib and Kinsale’. .

              Anti antis using 2014 stats seemingly ‘unaware’ that in 2015 things were completely different.

            • John, apologies in triplicate. Petronas and Shell do indeed produce gas from Irish waters, but not for very long, already below 50%:

              Gas Supply

              Ireland’s natural gas comes from both indigenous production and imports. The indigenous resources include gas fields at Kinsale and Corrib.

              The Corrib gas field commenced production on 30 December 2015. It will greatly enhance our security of supply in that it will provide diversity of supply for the duration of its production.

              Since the start of 2016, Corrib production accounts for approximately 36% of gas demand. It is expected that this will rise to approximately 60% in 2016/17 and approximately 50% in 2017/18. Thereafter production is expected to decline.

              The balance of our natural gas requirement is imported from Britain. The price of gas on the Irish market is determined by the marginal cost of this imported gas. Gas is imported from Britain via a system of sub-sea pipelines from Scotland (interconnectors).

              As a result, the price we pay for our gas as a commodity is set by the price of natural gas at the UK gas trading hub plus the cost of transporting it to Ireland via the subsea pipelines from Scotland.

              It would appear to be a fairly rapid decline.


  2. This is the UK column and details amongst other things an injunction taken out by Sheffield council against its own residents to yurn Sheffield into a police state and demanding ID for anyone entering or leaving their own homes while unnecessary tree felling is taking place to facilitate 5G.

    ( )

    The injunction is taken out against “persons unknown” (we know that phrase dont we?) watch and learn, see where these injunctions lead and wonder whether we are living in some sort of Stalinist nightmare?

    Coming to a street near you.

  3. One must wonder where was the people who claim to represent (protect) Lancashire in this challenge. [edited by moderator]

    [Further comment removed by moderator]

  4. Legal precedent is an obstacle for a reason. Common sense is an obstacle as well. So is common decency and a lawful society where everyone has rights – not just anti-frackers.

  5. Freedom to protest is one thing, freedom to do just anything you fancy no matter how it affects others is another!

    [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

    • Dear me, what an outpouring of juvenal bitter bile and ire from the pr desk?

      Talk about magnanimous in victory?

      Aren’t there anti anti adult frackers out there?

      It seems that all these In Junk Shams have actually done is to make the industry significantly less popular than Donald Trump and Russia or even Croatia in the publics eye?

      One match short of a world cup so to scream?

      Maybe judging from these bitter juvenal posts, we should fly baby fracker balloons all around the operator sites and ban their “victory” midnight mess fracker tape parades? Perhaps they expect texas tea with the Queen? We are not amused?

      Well if ever we thought we were talking to adults, well now we know better don’t we?

      Is there any fracker out there who doesn’t have some bitter personality tirade to embarrass you all about?

      And they want us to hand our future of our health, our environment, the lives of our children and ultimately that of the entire planet over to such as these?

      Not a chance.

      What a Pathetic display.

  6. Oh dear, someone is sore!

    It was going to happen, it has happened. Nothing surprising in tempus fugiting-to coin a phrase!

    The only surprising part is Cuadrilla waited for over 300 arrests before they sought an injunction. Although, pretty crafty, as it now looks to the public they were accommodating under extreme pressure for a long period before they acted.

  7. No, is the answer. What is there to be bitter about? I, and others, predicted this over twelve months ago, when the “movement” was hijacked. Not even saying “told you so”. Or reminding some that it was stated that “actions have consequences”. It is what it is, and was always going to be, and those attempting delusion that it wasn’t going to be will find some other mechanism to utilise.

    However, that is all the Boaty McBoatface fog. What will be the substance and determine the next direction is whether Cuadrilla manage to produce decent outputs of gas safely from PNR shortly. That’s what happens after all the recent sunshine, the fog gets burnt away.

    • There are two types of outlaw; one who holds the money and power, and the other who fights to be human; the rest of the population fall somewhere in between, fluctuating between lawful and unlawful when for example they choose to break the speed limit.

      The law is not moral. It does not stand for the masses, it serves only to control. Laws can be changed, but only if many of the elite chose to do this; it has been this way in our country since the first person declared himself a ‘king’. We are all still subjects, whatever we believe.

      The problem we face today is not the Lord of the Manor, but the Limited company. To give rights over a human being to a fictitious entity is the canker that eats away at our moral fabric and will destroy our planet.

      We are all in servitude, yes even you Martin, GBK, et al. Small ‘victories’ will only manifest themselves in kick back for you when you also find yourself as the ‘nimby’ or ‘that can’t be right’ protester, when your well being, lifestyle and family are threatened.

      There are no sides in this debate, only destruction. These rulings are opening the doors of hell. Hold on everyone, it’s time……

  8. Your view of the world is interesting Sherwulfe but where you go wrong is to state it is so. It is your view of the world. Humility is a very worthwhile attribute. Try IMHO in place of Emojis.

    It is N.Korea where one man’s view of the world is the country’s view of the world.

    • Show me evidence that what I have said is not true Martin, and I will gladly discuss this further. From someone who has little incite into the way the world works am afraid right now you have little credibility.

      The very fact that you think it is okay to tell someone what they can and cannot post proves my point. You have no jurisdiction.
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 IMHO these have more validity than you 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • This is what the big oil and gas protagonists will not tell you.

      ( ) Part two is by subscription, but there is enough on page one to explain things.

      The entire fossil fuel fiasco is coming to and end folks and it is on its last legs now. Fossil fuels were the “once in a species” boom, when we could squander everything and still have more tomorrow. That boom is gone, its been gone for decades now, which is why there is this desperate scramble to fill up the coffers before it all goes pits up.

      The oil cartels know this and that is why people dont matter to them, ecologies dont matter to them, the future of the planet doesnt matter to them, its all coming to a grinding halt and they want to be the last dog on top of the whole sh(!)t pile and they dont care who they run over to get there.

      The alternative renewable resources should be being invested in and developed as a matter of urgency, that should have been done decades ago.

      So why dont they allow that to progress to replace the dying fossil fuel supply?

      Simple, they know the viable alternatives, they have been suppressing them for decades,and they don’t want that cheaply available in public hands, they want to be top dog of the new sh(!)t pile and the pile ain’t invited.

      Exploration and more production will not stop the trend, peak oil is over, its all down hill from now on. Once in a species is over, now its time to pay the price, or rather you will be made to pay the price.Same game, same m.o.

      “The truth about how the coming oil shock will impact absolutely everything.”

      ( )

      Lets see what emerges from the dark PR corners to counter that?

  9. Well, read my post Sherwulfe. I stated your post was interesting. I did not tell you not to post. Perhaps if you could discuss around what people state rather than make it up to fit your sense of grievance it would be more impressive.

    I think you will find I have plenty of credibility. That’s what concerns you. (Maybe not with you and your imaginary friend but then look at how effective you have been in exciting some towards, what- producing injunctions! Need to find a scapegoat now?)

    Shall I now organise someone to say, “That was really brilliant Martin” and Trump (you know you like that word) everything else? No, I think I will stick to a little humility. I have no jurisdiction, and I did not seek it. Neither do I request Paul moderates others. I quite like (almost) level playing fields.

    Remember-other people can read, otherwise they would not be on this site.

    • Well it’s a good job ‘other people can read’, but you are not ‘other people’.

      Here is a book on the table; it’s an excellently written murder mystery…..

      Some will read it and pick up most of the clues and maybe say ‘that’s it!’ at the end.

      Some will find the going tough and after ‘two thirds’ will jump to the end to find out whodunit.

      Some will think they have read it and miss most of the clues and say ‘crap, I didn’t see that coming’; or ‘that’s just a shit book’ because they are embarrassed they did not get it at all.

      And others, who read a lot of popular fiction will pick up the code and about 85% on will know the answer [they may even jump to the end and say ‘yes, no surprises there’…..] 😉

      • Ignore it Sherwulfe, it’s just the usual hook, barb and plonker nonsense, the more you feed it the more outpourings of bitterness and bile, peppered with self justification, pure ego stuff, of which there seems to be a bottomless pit supply?

        I thought these phrases rather revealing though?

        “think you will find I have plenty of credibility”
        “imaginary friend”
        “That was really brilliant Martin”
        “No, I think I will stick to a little humility”
        “Neither do I request Paul moderates others. I quite like (almost) level playing fields.”

        All standard NLP management speak avoidance put downs, just strategy, nothing more, it plays to the ego because it is an implied insult, its just triggers, react to it and your are hooked, ignore it and it fumbles for more hooks and barbs and self justification, but essentially there is nothing there, nothing but emotive traps, hooks and barbs to trap the unwary and generate a response, the more you respond, the more hooks and barbs, nothing real there at all, just empty air and rhetoric, no technical content there at all?

        It has been well established, I did courses on this myself, that any technical issue that must be avoided, and can be denied and turned around into a derog a tory response that does not even refer to the forbidden subject, in stead it seeks to insult the questioner and attempts to deny the right to even ask the question.

        This is done by insinuating the questioner is quite wrong to ask the question, is not sufficiently qualified, or is of low intelligence or understanding of the “truth” as seen from the “supposed superior perspective”, which is where the replyer seeks to imply they have that superior knowledge and you know nothing.

        It’s all nonsense of course, it’s just strategy to make the questioner feel small or stupid up against the “supposed” statesman like “superiority” of the replier.

        The object of the exercise is not to answer the question at all, that is far too dangerous, honesty is a forbidden place to go.

        There are other strategies also, one is to highlight a tiny phrase or word and criticise that as if nothing else was said, thereby ignoring anything dangerous to answer. Also logic chopping, changing the subject completely, only stating a pre-prepared answer which has nothing to do with the question but appears knowledgeable, hoping to redirect the dangerous subject onto safer ground.

        Look at any of the anti anti “replies” (parentheses indicate doubtful gravity, as if the word is reversed?) you will see that a lot and you see the effect here. And you will see all these and more in constant anti anti play.

        Please realise you are not talking to everyday people here, they are hired protagonists, you are unwittingly engaging in domination strategies, it is better to understand that and not get trapped in the endless hooks and barbs and diversions and prevarications, changes of subject and re emphasising of the subject to appear knowledgeable.
        The hooks and barbs attack the writers ego and seek an angry or vexed response, then they have what they want and will exploit it, ignore the hooks and barbs and repeat the question continually if necessary, but don’t expect a rational reply or even a reply to your question, because the entire strategy is to avoid any such thing.

        Interesting isn’t it?

        The best way of avoiding getting embroiled in all this?

        State your case clearly and repeat it if necessary. Don’t “feed the beast” starve it of what it wants, a reply in kind, because then you are diverted, state something else you want to say and avoid the hooks and barbs. Never reply to only hooks and barbs content, and stick to your original statement, don’t get diverted and sidelined.

        It’s tough, but worth it.

        Have a good day and happy hunting.

          • but I was having sooo much fun….

            How many ‘call center operators’ does it take to change a light bulb?
            None, cos they all operate in the dark…

  10. Yes, Sherwulfe, stick to your original statement, even when it is clearly incorrect.

    Others will just not notice. Hmmm. What was your concern about credibility? Now, come on, do as you are instructed, but others might again notice, not by me.

    • Interesting isn’t it?
      Well here is Ian R Cranes report for today detailing the case in Australia, where a lady realised she could not in all conscience continue to be quiet about the dangers of fracking and spoke out.
      She then found herself “sectioned” and forcefully medicated??

      That was a Stalinist strategy and has no place in a civilised country….

      ( )

      You think this will not happen here?

      Curious that such treatment does not work the other way around isn’t it? Fanatic proponents of fracking posting wild obsessive nonsense? Have we seen that here? Ha! Ha!

      Well I’m off for a long deserved walking weekend, have a good one and remember, don’t fall into the negotiation domination strategies.


    • ‘come on, do as you are instructed’ – humm, there’s a name for this, it has a dictionary definition, but unfortunately it will be moderated……

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