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HS2 Success in Committal Application Arising From a Persons Unknown Injunction

Michael Fry

In an important judgment balancing the right to protest with private property rights, the High Court has imposed a six month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, upon Mr Elliott Cuciurean.  

Mr Cuciurean is a protestor against HS2. Following a 4 day hearing, Mr Cuciurean was found by Marcus Smith J to be in contempt of court, as a result of breaching an injunction forbidding persons unknown from entering or remaining on HS2’s land, on 12 occasions.

The judgment on liability provides extensive guidance on the approach to be taken to applications for contempt where the underlying injunction is against “persons unknown”, drawing together the reasoning in the Cameron, Cuadrilla and Ineos cases. 

In particular, the judgment clarifies the rules where the court exercises the persons unknown jurisdiction and clarifies the rules regarding service requirements, penal notices, the knowledge required by a defendant, and the extent to which injuncted land must be demarcated by a boundary or otherwise. 

The case has been reported extensively including in:

BBC News
Birmingham Mail
The Guardian

Mr Cuciurean has indicated that he intends to appeal.

Michael Fry acted for the Secretary of State for Transport and High Speed Two (HS2) Limited instructed by Rob Shaw and Laura Higson of DLA Piper (UK) LLP.
A copy of the liability judgment can be found here.