To say that Heathrow Airport have shot themselves in the foot with their misguided attempt to impose an injunction against all anti-airports protestors, not just the Camp for Climate Action, is an understatement. There is an injunction, but it is toothless. The main aim of the injunction is to scare people off from coming to the camp and from taking action at Heathrow Airport so we want to explain what the injunction really means for Climate Campers.
THE TERMS OF THE INJUNCTION
Who the injunction applies to:
As well as a few named individuals, the injunction has been granted against a nebulous group of ‘protestors’, where protestor means the anti-aviation protest group Plane Stupid, its supporters and those acting “in concert” with Plane Stupid to disrupt the operation of Heathrow airport.
What it restricts:
a) trespassing on Heathrow Airport’s land;
b) any activity impeding, obstructing or interfering with the operation of Heathrow Airport;
c) inciting or helping others to do a) or b).
Nothing in the terms of the injunction order exceeds current police powers. Mrs Justice Swift has based her order on existing laws and bye-laws, and has not permitted the wide restrictions that Heathrow wanted.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE CLIMATE CAMP?
Nothing of substance. The Camp for Climate Action is not covered by the injunction. The Camp for Climate Action is separate from Plane Stupid. While it may be argued that there are links between individuals in Plane Stupid and the Camp, they are separate organisations. The Camp for Climate Action existed before Plane Stupid, and is a self-organising entity controlled by no other organisation.
ARE YOU COVERED?
The key phrase which determines whether you become a ‘protestor’ or not is whether you are acting ‘in concert’ with Plane Stupid and the three named individuals (collectively called the Defendants) to disrupt operations at Heathrow Airport. Being part of the Climate Camp does not automatically make you a 'protestor' within the terms of this injunction. You would need to do something else in addition which would link you with the defendants. Experience with other injunctions indicates that to be acting 'in concert' with the Defendants would require you to:
a) be a known activist with Plane Stupid;
b) do an action explicitly organised by the Defendants for the purpose of disrupting operations at Heathrow Airport;
c) use materials produced by the Defendants in an action which either trespasses on, obstructs or interferes with Heathrow.
So to be safe we recommend that you don't bring any banners or leaflets or other materials with any reference to Plane Stupid on them to the camp or on actions.
The injunction comes to an end on 31st August. After that it disappears altogether unless Heathrow can successfully apply to extend it.
SERVICE OF THE INJUNCTION
To be covered by the injunction you have to be served first. If you are not served then you cannot be covered by its terms even if you fall under the definition of protestor.
To prove you have been served Heathrow has to demonstrate that you were either
a) personally handed a copy of the injunction, or
b) seen / photographed / videoed reading a copy of the injunction whether on a website or the ones that are likely to be posted up on their property (this is called service by substitution).
We will deal with what to do about personal service below, but service by substitution is very difficult to prove. The injunction requires Plane Stupid, HACAN and Airport Watch to post the injunction on their websites, and no doubt Heathrow will have it on theirs as well. However, they still have to prove that you went to those websites and explicitly viewed the terms of the injunction – something very difficult to do, if not downright impossible.
Heathrow will also display the injunction around its premises, in particular on the fences and posts of its perimeter. The purpose of this is to say that you must be aware of the terms if you were in the area. But it is an argument likely to fall flat unless they have evidence to show that you actually read the notices.
The court may decide that if you have been provided with the terms of the injunction by someone telling you (eg someone shouting it over a megaphone) then you have been served. However there are any number of problems with proving this in court (as has been show to be the case with the police using megaphones to inform assemblies of sec.14 orders).
It is very likely that, despite the hollowness of their victory that BAA will attempt to serve people personally with a copy of the injunction order. The standard tactic, probably with the support of the police, is to have specially appointed individuals called ‘process servers’ whose job is to go around handing out copies of the order to people they think are likely to be 'protestors', and at the same time photo / video / record the fact with a description of the person served.
To be served they must give you a copy of the order, but this can amount to tapping you on the body with it and dropping it at your feet, even as you are running off. It is likely that these process servers will turn up at various protests with copies to hand out. They are also likely to be outside the climate camp attempting to serve it on people coming in or out.
You are not required to stand still and simply wait to be served. As they are officers of the court you are not supposed to actively interfere with them serving people but there is no requirement for you to make their life easy for them. If someone dodgy looking comes towards you with a sheaf of paper don’t hang around and take it, or open your window to accept it. Don’t let them into the camp – they have no right to be there. In the past people have been very creative in protecting those that have not been served, for instance, forming spontaneous group hugs around them or simply standing in a line between them and the process server – process servers are not allowed to break the law to serve the injunction order.
If a process server is being aggressive, take action and make complaints – the are not allowed to assault people or act aggressively. Video their actions (though not faces of those being served) in case there are any subsequent court cases – you have a right to video both process servers and police alike, regardless of what they say.
And if you have been served with the injunction this does not mean you are automatically covered by it – you still have to fall into the definition of 'protestor' given above. Simply being a climate camper or involved in a climate camp protest does not mean that.
WHAT IS A BREACH OF THE INJUNCTION
If you are a 'protestor' within the meaning of the injunction and you trespass on Heathrow Airport Ltd’s land (there is a map attached to the injunction) then you are in breach of the injunction. You are also in breach if you blockade any road or other form of transport for people or vehicles reaching the airport, as this would amount to interfering with or obstructing the operation of the airport. What it does not stop is action against companies involved with the airport being targeted in their own right. It does not stop leafleting or other lawful protest activities from taking place in any place not covered under the trespass clause.
It is not a criminal offence to breach the injunction as it is a civil matter only. You cannot be arrested for breaching the injunction, even if the police say otherwise. Note, however, you can still be arrested for breaking the law and local bye-laws relating to trespass, etc.
Inciting people to trespass, or to impede / interfere with Heathrow's operation will also be considered to be breaches of the injunction, but then, only if they can prove that you were served or had knowledge that it was breaching the injunction. Note, incitement can be an offence in its own right depending on what you are inciting others to do.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU BREACH THE INJUNCTION
The injunction does not give the police any powers of arrest for breach of the injunction (of course you may still be arrested if you are suspected of committing a criminal offence). To pursue you for breach of the injunction Heathrow must get the Court's permission, which is decided at a 'committal' hearing. Heathrow will need to first get your name and address in order to serve you with court papers about the committal hearing. At that hearing they will have to prove that you had been served with the injunction, and that you did something that breached the terms of the injunction.
Technically a breach is contempt of court, and can carry a variety of penalties depending on the severity of the breach, these range from a conditional discharge, through fines and jail time. But jail time in particular is very unlikely except for persistent breaches. Taking you to court for breach of the injunction is an expensive and fairly pointless route for Heathrow, and something they are unlikely to do as by the time they get you to Court the camp will be over. Most other injunctions of this sort, such as the one at the climate camp at Drax last year have proved unenforceable and have been ignored by protesters without repercussions.
The publicity generated by these injunction proceedings has been a fantastic boost for the Climate Camp itself and the campaigns against Heathrow and aviation in general. You couldn’t pay for this sort of coverage. We hope that no one will be deterred from coming to the Climate Camp by the injunction – that would be a surrender of our right to freedom of protest and expression. We can all be at the Camp, sure in our right to be there.
FINAL NOTES ON THE PROTECTION FROM HARASSMENT ACT
The outcome of these injunction proceedings is a victory for protesters in the UK and has made a laughing stock of Heathrow’s owner BAA plc, as well as their lawyer Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden, the self-declared ‘market-leader’ in these types of injunctions. Mrs Justice Swift threw out BAA's application for an injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act (PHA) forcing BAA to fall back on the more toothless common law option, so damaging greatly the ability of corporations to use the PHA to stifle legal protest.
For the last four years corporations have been using the PHA to attack legitimate protest. Originally designed to protect people from stalkers, the Government and companies who are the target of persistent protests have been relatively successful in attempting to declare otherwise lawful forms of protest such as marches and leafleting, the use of megaphones, drums, whistles etc as amounting to harassment and therefore have been able to obtain court orders restricting or banning protests outright. The misuse of this law has lead to a draconian infringement of the rights to protest and assemble. It has also allowed corporations to obtain court orders based on lower standards of proof than would be allowed in the criminal courts, yet the penalties for breaching the orders made are criminal in nature.
As a last point, we would like to distance ourselves from the negative comments by some fighting the injunction in referring to ‘animal rights nuts’. The animal rights movement has been at the front line fighting the draconian terms of injunctions under the Protection from Harassment Act for four years now. These injunctions have never been about stopping illegal activities, but about curbing the right to lawful protest. The outcome of these current injunction proceedings is another step in that same fight.
Legal Collective 3
injunction outcome, which should hopefully clear up any confusion based on
unclear and misrepresentative press stories!
First and most important: the camp is NOT covered by the injunction, and
you will not be breaking the law by coming to the camp! The camp is going
ahead as planned not because it's ignoring an injunction, but because it
is not affected by the injunction.
Second, this was a victory for us and for freedom to protest, not for BAA.
BAA originally sought an incredibly wide-ranging, draconian injunction
that could have affected 5 million people and that covered a wide
geographical area including the Piccadilly line and parts of the M25
motorway. What they got was an injunction that is civil and not criminal
(ie. no additional powers of arrest), against 3 named individuals and the
group Plane Stupid, and with a much reduced geographical area over which
the injunction applies. EVERYONE is free to come to the camp WITHOUT
breaching the injunction, including those named on the injunction. In
other words, the judge denied most of the original injunction, and gave
BAA something much smaller and much less powerful.
However they tried to spin the story on Monday (by the way, the reason
their "BAA wins injunction" story got out first is because they sneakily
started talking to the press before the hearing was over!), BAA are
definitely not the winners in this case. The entire hearing has been a
farce, with the judge at times confused, at times thoroughly unimpressed
at BAA's inability to decide exactly what the injunction covered.
Embarrassment continued as BAA was denounced across the board, by everyone
from the big NGOs to Ken Livingstone and the political parties to civil
liberties groups. And finally, BAA were ordered to pay all court costs,
apart from Plane Stupid's.
So, BAA got very little of what they were originally seeking, got nowhere
in attempting to stop the camp, gave the camp loads of free publicity, and
are now out of a considerable chunk of change. We won, not BAA.
Loads of people have now heard about the camp who might not have
previously; but equally some people might be worried that this injunction
will affect them if they come to the camp. Please forward this email and
help to spread the word amongst your networks that the camp is not covered
by the injunction, and the outcome was in fact a real victory for protest
at Heathrow this summer.
General questions / comments / suggestions can be sent to
firstname.lastname@example.org, or for more info check out www.climatecamp.org.uk
Simple diagram to show whether you have been injuncted - view onscreen GIF