HS2 granted route-wide injunction

04 October 2022

Rail track

A High Court judge has granted an interim injunction in favour of HS2 Ltd and the Secretary of State for Transport. The injunction prohibits a range of unlawful protester activities, such as obstructing access to and from HS2 sites or entering HS2 land without permission.

On 20 September 2022, the court granted an interim injunction against several named defendants identified with the proceedings, but also the injunction is unusually broad in scope and applies to four categories of ‘persons unknown’ carrying out certain activities.

The injunction applies with immediate effect until 23.59 on the 31 May 2023. Given the ongoing nature of HS2, it seems likely that the injunction may be extended. 

The wide application of this injunction means that remedies available to HS2 Ltd, including potential committal proceedings (that is, proceedings for contempt of court whereby the court may impose a period of imprisonment, a fine or other punishment permitted by law), are enforceable against any individuals whose conduct amounts to a breach of the injunction.

Geographical scope

The injunction applies to all land acquired or held by HS2 Ltd. This land is shown coloured pink and green on the revised plans available electronically on the HS2 Proceedings Website – HS2 route-wide injunction proceedings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) (“the HS2 Land”).

This could cause practical difficulties because it may be difficult to know on the ground whether certain areas of land are held by HS2 and are therefore caught by the terms of the injunction, for example, where parcels of land are unfenced or work is yet to be commenced at various HS2 sites.

Private and public rights of way

The injunction does not prevent any person from exercising their lawful rights over land, be it over an open public right of way, any public highway, or private rights of access over the HS2 Land, nor does the injunction affect any person with a lawful freehold or leasehold interest in land held temporarily by HS2 Ltd.

Lawful protests

The judgment does not seek to prevent lawful protest.

Please refer to Activism: guidance on protesting safely for guidance as to what activity amounts to lawful protest.

Consequences of breach

A failure to comply with the terms of the injunction could amount to contempt of court and potentially result in committal proceedings, including possible imprisonment, a fine or other punishment allowed by law.

Any person affected by the injunction or wishing to become a named defendant has the option of applying to the court to vary or discharge the order.

We strongly recommend that any member contemplating any such action contacts NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458 with a view to obtaining their own independent legal advice.

You can download the full briefing – HS2 granted route-wide injunction briefing

See our NFU guidance for members on protesting safely.

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