Leading international law firm Hill Dickinson has today (3 September 2018) successfully secured injunction orders for UK Oil & Gas PLC (‘UKOG’) and four other claimants to restrain unlawful protest activities at two oil drilling sites in the South East.
In March 2018, lead claimant UKOG, issued proceedings against ‘persons unknown’ seeking wide ranging injunctions to protect two UKOG sites at Horse Hill in Surrey and Broadfield Bridge in West Sussex. The orders were sought following a long-term campaign of direct action to disrupt the lawful operation of the sites in onshore gas and oil exploration and extraction. The heavily contested hearing of the application for interim injunctions took place over four days in July 2018 before John Male, QC (sitting as a Judge of the Chancery Division).
In a reserved judgment handed down today, the judge granted interim injunction orders to prevent unlawful activity; such as trespass on the sites, obstructing the entrances and the highway, slow walking in front of vehicles, targeting secondary and tertiary supply companies to the sites and protesters locking themselves to vehicles or climbing onto them, known as ‘lorry surfing’. The injunctions do not restrict lawful and legitimate protest.
The successful team at Hill Dickinson was led by head of property litigation, partner Kevin Lee, supported by senior associate Helen Evans and associate Luke Holden. Counsel for UKOG was Tim Polli QC and Sam Magde-Wyld of Tanfield Chambers.
Hill Dickinson has a depth of experience in acting against illegal protest activity and has now acted for a number of oil and gas companies on more than 10 High Court applications for orders and injunctions to protect operational sites across England and Wales.
Commenting on the case, Kevin Lee said: ‘We are pleased the High Court has granted UKOG these important injunction orders to restrain unlawful protest activity. UKOG and the other claimants have always recognised the right to peaceful protest, but the campaign that has been waged against UKOG went beyond this. The orders made today vindicate UKOG’s position. We hope this victory will deter future unlawful activity and enable UKOG to go about its lawful business.
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