Court extends wide-ranging injunction in favour of fracking firm


Re: Ineos Upstream Ltd & Ors v Persons Unknown & Ors [2017] EWHC 2945 (Ch)

This was a challenge to an interim injunction granted to INEOS, a large fracking company, in September 2017, on an ex parte, quia timet basis, preventing “persons unknown” from protesting at various planned fracking sites around the country and against INEOS and its suppliers.

The Court renewed, subject to amendments, most of the injunctions previously granted to INEOS on an interim basis, though refused to renew the anti-harassment injunction relating to the company’s supply chain. It held that there was “an imminent and real risk that, in the absence of injunctions the defendants will interfere with the legal rights of the claimants. Further, in the absence of injunctions it is unlikely that the claimants will receive any legal redress or compensation for the infringement of their rights. Ineos’s business activities are lawful. The defendants wish Ineos to stop carrying on those activities and wish to put pressure on Ineos to stop. However … the defendants’ means of putting pressure on Ineos involve unlawful behaviour on their part, including criminal acts”.

The defendants in question are ‘unknown’, and the feared unlawful behaviour has not yet occurred in relation to INEOS.  Two individuals – an anti-fracking protestor and the son of Vivienne Westwood – intervened in order to challenge the injunctions, in the absence of any identified defendant, known to or named by the claimants. They have applied for permission to appeal the High Court judgment.

Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh was involved in this case.