Councils win appeal which clarifies law on preventative injunctions

Articles
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.

Author

Steven Woolf

Call: 1989

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