Full case report

Huntingdon Life Sciences Group plc v Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty

Reference [2007] EWHC 522 (QB)
Court Queen's Bench Division

Judge Holland J

Date of Judgment 15 Mar 2007


Summary

Harassment – Injunction – Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – Representative Parties – CPR 19.6


Facts

The first Defendant (“SHAC”) was an unincorporated association opposed to vivisection whose objects were to protest against and ultimately to close down the Claimant’s business. A number of interim injunctions had been granted in the proceedings since April 2003. At the trial, the first Defendant was the only remaining Defendant, but was sued in a representative capacity for all the members of SHAC.


Issue

 

(1) whether the interim injunctions should be continued in a final order;

(2) if so, in what terms;

(3) could an order that bound a person as being within the class of people represented as Defendants to the claim be enforced against them, in particular, under the provisions of s.3(6) Protection from Harassment Act 1997; and

(4) damages.


Held

 

(1) it was conceded by the Defendant that the Claimant was entitled to some order;

(2) the Court made some adjustments to its terms in light of submissions;

(3) CPR 19.6(4)(a) made clear that an order made against a representative Defendant bound all persons represented in the claim. But CPR 19.6(4)(b) equally made it clear that such order could only be enforced against the represented persons with the permission of the Court. The requirement for the Court’s permission applied equally to contempt proceedings for breach of the order as to proceedings under s.3(6) of the Act. The represented persons were not “defendants” under the act; and

(4) the Claim for over £1m damages was abandoned by the Claimant given the difficulties presented by the representative nature of the proceedings brought against the Defendant.


Comment

The interim injunctions in the case had all contained, wrongly as it appears, a provision allowing the Claimant to enforce the Order against the protestors “pursuant to CPR 19.6(4)(b) and to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997”. This appeared prospectively to give permission to the Claimant for enforcement of the Order and, more importantly, to invoke the criminal powers under the Harassment Act. This point was considered again in the later case of RWE NPower v Carrol & Others in which Teare J refused prospectively to give such permission on the basis that it deprived the Court of the important safeguard of an opportunity to consider whether enforcement was appropriate in the context of representative proceedings.


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Instructing Solicitors

Lawson-Cruttenden & Co for the Claimants