Solicitor criticises “David versus Goliath imbalance” at fracking injunction hearings


Photo: DrillOrDrop

There is a “worrying inequality” between the shale gas industry and people who seek to bring legal challenges to its protest injunctions, lawyers representing campaigners said this evening.

Earlier this week, Friends of the Earth said it had been “priced out” of taking part in a High Court challenge against Cuadrilla’s injunction.

Today, three campaigners who sought to vary the terms of the company’s injunction order were refused public support.

The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) turned down their application, saying they were “well-organised and capable of fundraising”.

Robert Lizar Solicitors, who represented Katrina Lawrie, Christopher Wilson and Lee Walsh, described the LAA’s decision as “unlawful and unjust” and said it would appeal.

Nicola Hall, a solicitor with the firm, said:

“The decision reinforces this David versus Goliath situation in injunction cases. There is a disparity between campaigners and the shale gas industry at these hearings.

“The LAA said they should crowd-fund for any legal challenge against an injunction. It is saying that private charity must now take the place of legal aid.

“Access to a lawyer is a basic part of defending human rights and this case shows how difficult that is becoming.”

Ms Hall said:

“Inequality of arms is an extremely worrying feature of these cases.

“Protesters with little or no resources are up against multinational companies with almost unlimited funds.”

190902 pnr injunction Katrina Lawrie DoD

Campaigner Katrina Lawrie speaking to supporters in Manchester, 2 September 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The campaigners had argued at the High Court in Manchester that the terms of the injunction were unclear and uncertain. This was why they breached the injunction and had been found in contempt of court, they said.

They received legal aid to defend themselves against the allegation that they breached the injunction but not for the linked case to vary the terms.

Judge Mark Pelling, who granted the injunction in 2018, was hearing both the challenge to vary the terms and the contempt of court case.

He also refused Friends of the Earth’s application for cost protection. The organisation said it could have faced paying all Cuadrilla’s costs of £85,000 if it lost. Judge Pelling also awarded Cuadrilla costs for opposing Friends of the Earth’s application for cost protection.

Today, Cuadrilla was awarded costs against the campaigners in the contempt of court section of the case. Lawyers  said this could total £70,000.

Ms Hall said:

“Cuadrilla have relentlessly pursued our clients, all of whom are committed protesters who live near the site.”

She said they were seeking to protect people and the environment from the impacts of fracking, including the recent 120+ tremors caused by operations at the Preston New Road site.

  • Judge Pelling imposed short suspended prison sentences on each of the campaigners this morning. DrillOrDrop report They have said they will appeal against the committal for contempt of court. They are also seeking to appeal against the dismal of their challenge against the terms of the injunction.

28 replies »

  1. And we all know what happened to Goliath…..the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and a single pebble tends to balance things out again.

  2. Enemies of Industry Ltd last published accounts can be seen via the following link:

    Not sure why the 2019 accounts are not up yet – perhaps too early?

    The accounts show a post tax surplus of over £3million at 30th June 2018.

    Total income for the year £6million.

    This includes income of £4.4million from the Peoples Postcode Lottery. I wonder if ticket purchasers have any idea that EOI receive this huge chunk of money from their ticket purchases?

    Short of cash? Something else going on here……

  3. Friends of the Earth,

    ‘Remuneration paid to the directors of friends of the earth Ltd was £ nil’

    Cuadrilla Resources,

    ‘The aggregate emoluments during the year of the highest paid director were £480,000’

    I wonder how many other Cuadrilla companies pay out huge directors salaries?

    Different companies with different agendas. Friends of the earth operating a business structured around environmental concerns and human rights.

    Cuadrilla, a start up UK shale gas company which has failed to produce safe cheap gas for the country and is now facing the costs of damages they have directly caused from their fracking operations.

    Shouldn’t all the company and directors assets be seized to pay for any current and any future damage?

  4. Err, no. Thought Cuadrilla had agreed already to pay for any current damage? That shouldn’t be a problem as they will not be spending out the next £100k on the Community Fund for a little while.

      • Has Groningen moved from the Netherlands to the Fylde John. Perhaps a cataclysmic pole shift ? Certainly a huge displacement……

    • No Martian, but if they are to be believed they have been paying out £96k A DAY for the last 13 days, and will continue to do so at the same rate until they start to dismantle the site again. The savings from the next minor bribe, or even Mr Egan’s annual salary, will look pretty inconsequential compared to their ongoing weekly expenses for doing diddly squat. Of course they may never ever have to pay those bribes again. So by your logic that’s good for them isn’t it? LOL

      • Except delayed reaction, what they have been doing for the last 13 days they are not doing at the moment, so by my reality, their costs are not what they were, and will not run at the same rate until they start to frack again.

        Does your 3 litre diesel cost the same if it is parked compared to if it is being driven?

        Don’t let it worry you-economics not your speciality, we know. Or reality.LOL.

        • Martin. I think Refracktion is referring to the fact that after the first failed attempt at fracking last November Francis Egan went crying to the government to have the TLS lifted. He told them it was costing over £90,000 per day for the site to be at a standstill and therefore the TLS must be raised. Either he was telling porkies to the government or it will now be costing Cuadrilla much the same figure now that the site is once again at a standstill.

          • Err, no, Pauline. Delayed reaction stated on the 3rd September that Cuadrilla had been paying out “£96k a day over the last 13 days.”

            Now, that is a simple statement, providing dates and amounts. If you want to change that statement into speculation I am quite used to that, but it still is speculation and not reality.

            I have no idea of Cuadrilla costs, but I know it is pretty simple that a standstill as you reference, has less costs than during full operation. Anyone who has worked in almost any line of business (apart from reaction, it seems) knows that.

            I know it is accepted practice for some to post on here as if others are totally ignorant of the wider world, but I will continue to try and correct such, for the sake of accuracy and reality. Others can speculate.

            • Martin. Believe what you like. I’m simply telling you what Francis Egan told the government last year after Cuadrilla’s failed attempt to frack Well 1 and the site was at a standstill. He was trying to convince the government to raise the TLS by telling them it was costing over £90,000 for every day they weren’t allowed to work. They would still have security costs and of course the constant expense of removing surface water from the soggy pad but the rental on all that equipment would account for most of the cost, I imagine, which was probably the reason why, shortly afterwards, said equipment was removed. No doubt, if the site were to become operational once more costs per day would be considerably higher than £90,000.

              • Two separate times, two separate situations.

                I know what Mr. Egan stated last year. Over the last 13 days, is not last year.

                However, Pauline, keep on demonstrating that the antis are so focused upon the cost of delay to Cuadrilla, but do not be surprised when some QC brings that into play at a future Court hearing, and don’t moan if someone pays that penalty.

                • Martin. It’s Mother Nature that’s caused the work to be stopped on both occasions, not anti frackers.

  5. Well, John, once again you speculate based upon what?? Ahh, something that is nothing to do with Cuadrilla or even the UK!

    Well done.

  6. If you support renewables you are complicit in human rights abuse (according to the Guardian at least):

    “Most of the world’s top companies extracting key minerals for electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines have been linked with human rights abuses in their mines, research has found.

    Analysis published by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), an international corporate watchdog, revealed that 87% of the 23 largest companies mining cobalt, copper, lithium, manganese, nickel and zinc – the six minerals essential to the renewable energy industry – have faced allegations of abuse including land rights infringements, corruption, violence or death over the past 10 years.”

    So renewables / fossil fuels / arms – all the same, human nature, greed and money……

    Out of sight out of mind….

    • Paul thats an interesting article in the guardian: i do believe the antis are not responding to your post…. haha!

    • Dear me ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! What a fake display of crocodile tears from the fossil fuel failed industry?

      This subject comes up every now and then, and in this case it is clear that the anti antis are desperate to paste the renewable sources of energy generation and use with their own sticky tar brush, now that fracking is finished dead and soon to be buried in the UK.

      So lets examine these claims in put them in their proper perspective shall we? I actually agree with The Guardian article, because it is way beyond time that the mining operations around around the world are exposed for what they are. And that is the same greed and corruption and ransacking of the Earths resources which of course include the human exploitation, the enforced slavery and the sexual and human trafficking of indigenous peoples all around the world for greed and profit for the very same miserable few of banks, corporations, governments and politicians, and gangsters and terrorists that see all humans as mere goods and chattels to be bought and sold on the far too open market.

      So we see free market capitalism in its true perspective don’t we. It is nothing but psychopathic exploitation of resources, be that animal vegetable or mineral, preferable all three it seems.

      We see then these crocodile tears of fake outrage and crooked finger pointing at the renewable energy resources and technology, whilst very carefully avoiding mentioning that the fossil fuel industry and industry in general, banksters and politicians, governments and corporations, have been similarly exploiting children and adults for generations in perfect silence and complicity and approval, just so long as the money pours into the offshore bank accounts and controlled and manipulated by multiple untraceable post box companies hidden in out of the way unmanned corporations somewhere in back streets somewhere.

      Where were the cries of child exploitation, cancer and murder, sex slavery, human trafficking and indigenous genocide then?
      No, it was all hunky dory and keep your mouth shut and just watch the money pouring in, until of course the renewable energy technology began to compete with the fossil fuel industry, even when renewable resources are sidelined, starved of finances, research and the fossil fuel industry spreads its disinformation and control away from renewable resources and back to the fossil fuel industry to lock us into yet more decades of their corrupt profiteering.

      So now suddenly since renewable resources are competing well in even this unfair and biased wasteland of fossil fuel oiligarchy and hegemony, which these truisms of child exploitation and slavery are admitted to?

      But it is a massive own goal isn’t it? The fossil fuel oiligarchy is now so desperate to trash renewable resources, that it is even willing to expose its own exploitation of children and adults and resources in some fatalistic last ditch defence against the future.

      In the true light of day and reason and humanity now, the fossil fuel industry, these Enemies Of Humanity, these Enemies Of Earth, these Enemies Of Children, these Enemies Of Future, (EOH, EOE, EOC, EOF) we see them clearly now and we do not like for one second what we see.

      Yes, these human exploitative mining operations must be exposed and cleared away, yes these corrupt and greedy governments, these greedy mining operations, these greedy corporations, these greedy banksters and corrupt politicians must be arrested and tried for their crimes and replaced with real people who wish and work for a better future.

      Meanwhile the technology of renewable energy production is fast finding ways of avoiding using exploitative mining products of rare earths and exploited minerals and cow towing to these corrupt governments, corporations and mining operations, and criminal slavery organisations of any persuasion or constitution because the future is to live at last in harmony with ourselves, our planet and all life that exists here.

      The children know what has been done in their name now, and they know what has been perpetrated across the world in the name of greed corruption and exploitation of the earths natural mineral animal and human resources, and that will end and we can build a future for everyone everywhere, not the miserable miserly corruption and greed and money obsession of the last few parasitic sociopaths that have made the Earth such dangerous place to bring up our children and future generations.

      Always better to clarify the real world situation isnt it ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls?

    • So. If we want to see the true aspect of the fossil fuel greed and exploitation, here are a few examples for your edification, not exhaustive, but quite exhausting and very very enlightening, not that i expect the anti antis to even bother to look, since actually reading the truth is dangerous, always better to say that they have no knowledge of such claims because they simply haven’t read them, not that they don’t exist.

      Standard practice isn’t it.

      Where shall we start? Lets try here and work our way down shall we ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls? Hang on to your flat cat fat cats frack hats, its going to be a rough ride!

      Part 1: Dark Money: Jane Mayer on How Koch Bros. & Billionaire Allies Funded Rise of the Far Right

      Part 2: Dark Money: Jane Mayer on How Koch Bros. & Billionaire Allies Funded Rise of the Far Right

      Part 3: Dark Money: Jane Mayer on How Koch Bros. & Billionaire Allies Funded Rise of the Far Right

      Kochland: How David Koch Helped Build an Empire to Shape U.S. Politics & Thwart Climate Action

      How Bolsonaro’s Climate Change Denial & Anti-Indigenous Policies Led to Massive Fires in the Amazon

    • This is The Corbett Report on “Big Oil, How and Why Big Oil Conquered The World” Two very good documentaries that also have the text transcript to refer to at any time if you want to research the information yourself and an MP3 if you want to listen in the car.



      Have a Nice Day!

  7. Interesting article re Norway, the country whose sovereign wealth fund is divesting from oil and gas:

    “Lundin Petroleum AB (Lundin Petroleum) is pleased to announce an acceleration to the start-up schedule of the Johan Sverdrup development project. The operator now estimates first oil in October 2019 from the previously guided November 2019.

    The Johan Sverdrup development project continues to progress well through the final stages of preparation for operations with most of the hook-up and commissioning work now completed. The current focus is on completing the testing of the equipment and systems required for the full-field centre to operate as one installation and as result, the partnership is updating the start-up of production to October 2019.

    During phase 1, Johan Sverdrup will produce 440 Mbopd when plateau production is reached by summer of 2020, increasing to 660 Mbopd after phase 2 commences in the fourth quarter 2022. At phase 2 plateau, Johan Sverdrup will contribute up to 25 percent of Norway’s total production of oil and gas, while power from shore gives the field carbon emissions intensity of just below 1 kg CO2 per barrel, which is among the lowest in the world and 25 times lower than the oil and gas industry average.

    Lundin Petroleum’s production guidance when Johan Sverdrup Phase 1 reaches plateau during the summer of 2020, is above 150 Mboepd and approximately 170 Mboepd when Johan Sverdrup Phase 2 reaches plateau in 2023. The operator has indicated that operating costs for Johan Sverdrup will be below USD 2 per barrel after reaching plateau for the first phase of the development, which corresponds to Lundin Petroleum’s industry leading low operating cost guidance of between USD 3.4 to USD 4.4 per boe for the portfolio.”

    What happened to “leave it in the ground”?

      • Supply and demand, that’s all PhilC. When demand drops so will supply.

        It would be interesting to see if Ruth / Paul can tell us how many people on this BB bothered to look at the videos you post – I would hope people have better things to do with their lives…..

        • Aww, Dear Paul, how sweet of you to at last concede to the truth of the fossil fuel industries attempts to control the worldwide narrative?

          And i am sure enough ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls who are still able to think for themselves and make up their own minds, rather than the proffered bread and circuses of politics and other diversions, will either will look and learn, or they all ready know the truth about the fossil fuel industries control of all the aspects of government and finance and corporate complicity in the destruction and exploitation of our Earth and the planets natural ecology and the greatest exploited resource of them all, human beings.

          Of course there are those, who as i said, will desperately jam their heads back beneath their total black out blinkers and deep black comfort blankets and pretend that its all just more money in the bank and to hell with everyone and everything that stands to spoil their little game?

          Never mind, the future is coming, and its not fossil fuels and its not fracking in the UK either. Supply and demand has transformed itself into a new paradigm old chap, the children and future generations already have and will demand the supply of their clean and viable future for everyone, and the fossil fuel industry is not it.

          Have a Nice Day.

    • Paul,
      This is a red herring! Equinor is still heavily invested in oil and gas and is for the next 50 years! Its easy to say when the you have such a huge Sovereign wealth fund, but they cannot currently divest oil and gas, but they are hedging their bets and spreading their risk as inevitably there will be a down turn again and they don’t want to be subjected to losing that fund!

      • Good job we have in the UK the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund continuing to invest in UK industry!

        Just a shame we don’t have a UK one to do the same.

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