Full case report

Smithkline Beecham & Others v Avery & Webb

Reference [2007] EWHC 948 (QB)
Court Queen's Bench Division

Judge Teare J

Date of Judgment 9 May 2007


Summary

Injunction – Interim Injunction – Harassment – Protection from Harassment Act


Facts

The Claimants were customers of Huntingdon Life Sciences (“HLS”). They feared that, unless restrained, those who protested against the work of HLS and their customers would harass their employees. The Claimants had been granted an interim injunction by Beatson J on 4 April 2007 and sought to continue its terms.


Issue

 

(1) Whether the injunction should be continued; and, if so

(2) the appropriate terms of any continued injunction;

(3) whether the Claimants should prospectively have permission to enforce the Order against the represented parties in the litigation, in particular, in relation to potential remedies under s.3(6) Protection from Harassment Act 1997 for breach of the Order.


Held

 

(1) The Court was satisfied that a number of incidents demonstrated that there was a serious threat of harassment to the employees of the Claimants. The Claimants had also satisfied the Court that they were likely to establish are trial that publication of the statements complained of would not be permitted (see s.12 Human Rights Act 1998 and Cream Holdings);

(2) the injunction would provide for an exclusion zone and limits on the number of demonstrations and their duration;

(3) permission to enforce the Order against those represented in the proceedings would not be granted prospectively for the same reasons as given by Holland J in Huntingdon Life Sciences Group plc v Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. Until permission to enforce against a person represented in the claim is granted such a person cannot properly be regarded as a party to the claim.


Comment

This case – and the cases of Huntingdon Life Sciences Group plc v Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty and RWE NPower v Carrol & Others – have all highlighted the important limits on enforcement procedures under s.3(6) Protection from Harassment Act 1997 in the context of proceedings brought against representative defendants. The Claimants’ attempt to overcome this problem by seeking prospective permission to enforce the order was refused by the Court on the basis that it would remove one of the important safeguards in the regime under CPR Part 19.6.


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Instructing Solicitors

In-house solicitor of the first applicant for the applicants; the first respondent appeared in person and by his litigation friend; the second respondent did not appear and was not represented.