Home Information Cases Smithkline Beecham PLC & 11 ORS v Greg Avery (2007)

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Smithkline Beecham PLC & 11 ORS v Greg Avery (2007)

Summary

A group of companies that had provided sufficient evidence that their employees faced a serious threat of harassment from animal rights protestors was entitled to a continuation of an injunction that controlled the location, timing and frequency of the protestors' demonstrations. The companies could not enforce the injunction against unnamed protestors without first identifying those protestors and obtaining the court's permission under CPR r.19.6(4)(b).

Facts

The applicants (S) applied to continue a restraining order obtained without notice against the respondent animal rights protestors (D), who represented all members and supporters of their respective causes. S were customers of Huntingdon Life Sciences, a research company that performed tests on animals. They had obtained an interim injunction that protected D's right of legitimate protest whilst avoiding the risk of uncontrolled protest that might lead to harassment, by restraining a defined group of protestors from harassing a defined group of protected persons. S sought a continuation of that injunction. The court was required to determine (i) whether S had a sufficient case to justify the grant of an injunction; (ii) the specific terms of the order; (iii) whether S would be permitted to enforce the order against unnamed protestors pursuant to CPR r.19.6(4)(b).

Held

(1) D had been associated with a number of attacks, including graffiti and physical damage to the property of S and their employees, and intimidating and abusive demonstrations at S's sites. Despite the efforts of the organisers of the first respondent organisation, they had failed to convince all of their supporters that their demonstrations should be lawful and peaceful. The evidence showed that there was a serious threat of harassment to S's employees from D, which was enough to justify the continuation of the injunction. (2) No modifications were required to the order. It provided for exclusion zones around S's various sites and permitted demonstrations at specified points within them between 10am and 4pm at intervals of 28 days at each site. Limiting the window of time in which there could be a demonstration was appropriate to ease any planning by S or the police. The interval between demonstrations at each site should not be shorter: there were 18 sites, so there could be 216 demonstrations per year, which was more than adequate. The order prohibited the use of megaphones, which was appropriate as there was cogent evidence that they had been used to harass S's employees. There was no need for a procession or assembly as well as the permitted demonstrations. (3) CPR r.19.6 expressly addressed the question of when an order could be enforced against a person who was not a party to a claim, the answer being that it could be enforced with the permission of the court. Until permission to enforce against a person represented in the claim was granted that person could not be properly regarded as a party. S sought permission to enforce the injunction in advance and without identifying the natural persons against whom, in addition to the named defendants, the order could be enforced. If that were a legitimate use of r.19.6(4)(b) it would mean that the court would have no opportunity to consider whether the circumstances of any particular individual, who was not a named defendant, justified the enforcement of the court's order against him before it was so enforced. Rule 19.6(4)(b) ensured that such an individual would have an opportunity to make submissions before any enforcement could occur, Huntingdon Life Sciences Group Plc v Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) (2007) EWHC 522 (QB) considered. Therefore, S were not permitted to enforce the order pursuant to CPR r.19.6(4)(b).

Application granted

Queen's Bench Division
Teare J
Judgment date
24 April 2007
References

LTL 9/5/2007