Appeal court judges rule in favour of campaigners against ‘draconian’ injunction
'Campaigners have hailed a legal victory against a multinational company that took out a “draconian and anti-democratic” injunction against protesters.
On Wednesday, three court of appeal judges ruled in favour of campaigners who wanted to overturn the wide-ranging injunction that had been granted to the petrochemicals giant Ineos, which is owned by Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, and aspires to become a leading fracking firm.
A series of energy companies have been granted similar injunctions against protesters in recent years. Campaigners hope the latest ruling will enable them to turn back the tide of injunctions.
In 2017, the high court granted Ineos the sweeping injunction that sought to prevent all campaigners from obstructing its fracking operations, or significantly interfering with its lawful activities. The campaigners faced being jailed, fined or having their assets seized if they broke the injunction.
Two environmental campaigners – Joe Corré, the son of the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and Joe Boyd – challenged the injunction, saying it was draconian, anti-democratic and dramatically curtailed protesters’ rights.
On Wednesday, Lord Justice Longmore, sitting with two other judges, granted the pair’s appeal, ruling that the injunction was “too wide and insufficiently clear”.
They decided that the judge who granted the initial injunction had “attempted to do the impossible” and made an order that was “too wide and too uncertain”.
Longmore said: “The citizen’s right of protest is not to be diminished by advance fear of committal except in the clearest of cases.”'
Read more: Protesters hail legal victory over fracking firm's injunction