Briefing: Persons Unknown Injunctions –Supreme Court Appeal

  Published:  06 Feb 2023
On 8 and 9 February 2023 Friends of the Earth is supporting an appeal brought by three Gypsy and Traveller charities at the Supreme Court. The case concerns injunctions against ‘persons unknown’.

In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the use of these injunctions by private companies and public authorities, which have targeted both the Gypsy and Traveller community and environmental protestors. These injunctions are brought against unnamed individuals who are defined according to the actions they take in a specific geographical area. They have been used by fossil fuel companies against community-based anti-fracking campaigns and across the whole of the HS2 route.

The three charities bringing the Supreme Court appeal are: London Gypsies and Travellers; Friends, Families and Travellers; and Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group. Both Friends of the Earth and Liberty are supporting the appeal and have been granted permission to intervene. Both will make submissions regarding how these injunctions can infringe on protest rights. Friends of the Earth recognises the right of Gypsies and Travellers to maintain their unique, nomadic way of life, and believes that citizens must be free to voice their concerns over government inaction on the climate and nature crisis. The appeal is opposed by several local authorities, and by HS2 and the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Mark Harper MP.