Councils win appeal which clarifies law on preventative injunctions

13 Jan 2022

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham & Anor v Persons Unknown & Ors [2022] EWCA Civ 13

On 24th May 2021, Mr Justice Nicklin held that it was not permissible to obtain final injunctions against persons unknown unless it was possible to identify such persons, and to serve them with the proceedings in accordance with court rules. Further, he held that it was never appropriate to make injunctions against newcomers– i.e. persons who came onto the land subsequent to the injunction being ordered.

Steven Woolf, together with a number of other leading and junior counsel, appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal. In a judgment handed down by the Master of the Rolls on 13th January 2022, the Court of Appeal has found in favour of local authorities who wish to obtain such injunctions against persons unknown where an action involving a public nuisance was anticipated. Click here to read the full judgment.

The decision means that the law is in place to grant injunctive relief when a local authority identifies a need to protect the public from unlawful actions amounting to a public nuisance.

It also re-affirms the previously understood law in this important area of anticipatory injunctive relief. It ensures that not only may local authorities seek to protect public land by so-called green space injunctions, but it also recognises the importance of protecting other claimants from acts of nuisance, including protecting buildings from urban explorers and private land from trespass and anti-social activities.

This judgment should be welcomed as it will undoubtedly benefit and protect all persons in the future from actions that would otherwise interfere with quiet enjoyment and safety of land and property.

Steven Woolf, led by Ranjit Bhose QC, was instructed by South London Legal Partnership to act for the 7th and 12th claimants in this case.


Steven Woolf

Call: 1989


This content is provided free of charge for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of Chambers or by Chambers as a whole.


Please note that we do not give legal advice on individual cases which may relate to this content other than by way of formal instruction of a member of Gatehouse Chambers. However, if you have any other queries about this content please contact: