Protest Injunctions - Free Webinar

Thursday 26 January 2023


Date: Thursday 26 January 2023
Time: 5.30pm - 7pm
Venue: Online  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Protest Rights , Civil Liberties and Human Rights , Criminal Defence

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Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) and the Garden Court Protest Team held a joint online seminar on Protest Injunctions. The event explored the current legal context for injunctions, how they are being used to restrict our right to protest and what we can do about them.

2022 saw a spate of injunctions sought by private companies and local authorities which seek to restrain the right to protest. With an ever-growing scope, injunctions have been made covering the M25, the full route of HS2 from London to Cheshire, as well as the entire strategic road network stretching across the length and breadth of the country.

There have been developments in the basis on which injunctions may be sought, with a revival of economic torts as the basis for injunctive relief. The test under which interim injunctions engaging freedom of expression may be made has been challenged, and the provisions relating to service provisions have developed. There have been novel means by which those affected by injunctions have been granted the right to make submissions before the court. Committal proceedings have also been brought in a number of high-profile cases, with developments in the nature of the sanctions imposed, and the basis on which defendants in committal proceedings face adverse costs.

Finally, there are fundamental challenges to the making of final 'Persons Unknown' injunctions, where the conflicting decisions of the previous two Masters of the Rolls are due to be considered by the Supreme Court. It is therefore an ideal time to take stock of the legal landscape relating to protest injunctions and related issues.


Jodie Blackstock. Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Chair)
Jodie is a public law and human rights specialist, with extensive experience in justice system reform through policy, research and strategic litigation. Jodie's particular interest is in challenging, through judicial review and civil actions, criminal justice system actors for violations of fair trial standards, abuse and death in custody. She is particularly concerned for the effective participation rights of adults with disabilities and children accused of crime.

Stephen Simblet KC, Garden Court Chambers
Stephen's practice includes a focus on individual rights in civil claims against the police and public authorities. Stephen represented protestors in several cases involving court injunctions taken out by commercial organisations against protestors. He has been involved in several High Court cases involving such injunctions, including cases where the injunction proceedings were dropped, or injunctions refused as a result of the defendant's opposition. He is at the centre of some of the cases involving opposition to fracking.

Owen Greenhall, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Owen is a specialist in all aspects of the law relating to protest and freedom of expression and has extensive experience of litigation in this area. Owen acts in both criminal trials and civil claims relating to protests. He has acted in numerous recent protest injunction cases as well as related committal proceedings. These include cases relating to Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion as well as protests opposing HS2 and fracking. He has also provided pre-litigation advice to several national NGOs on civil liability for direct action protests. Owen is co-author of The Protest Handbook (2nd ed. Bloomsbury 2020). 

Kevin Blowe, NetPol
Kevin Blowe was the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) coordinator from 2014 and became its Campaigns Coordinator in 2021 when Netpol's staff team expanded.

He has been active in community-based police monitoring initiatives since 1990, was the secretary of the United Families and Friends Campaign from 1998 to 2009, and most recently worked for six years with anti-fracking groups to challenge the oppressive policing and surveillance targeting their protests. He is the co-author of "Restricting Rebellion", Netpol's report on the policing of Extinction Rebellion protests in London in 2019.

Alice Hardy, Solicitor, Hodge Jones and Allen
Alice represents people who wish to bring the state and its officers to account, and political or campaigning groups wishing to challenge unlawful decisions and practices in order to uphold human rights and effect change for the better. Her caseload includes claims and challenges against the police and a range of public bodies.

Alice specialises in acting for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, political and environmental activists, people who have suffered discrimination on grounds of race, gender and disability, and the families of people who have died in police or prison custody or in mental health detention. 

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