Ansco Arena Ltd v Law [2019] EWHC 835

The High Court has granted an injunction to restrain three known defendants, and persons unknown, from trespassing on the roof of the O2 Arena, and an injunction requiring the known defendants to remove internet videos of their previous trespass The owner of the O2 Arena sought a final quia timet injunction restraining future trespass on the roof of the O2 Arena by three defendants who had previously trespassed, and by a class of persons unknown.  The owner also sought an order requiring the named defendants to remove footage which they had previously posted of them trespassing on the O2 Arena in the past, which was encouraging others to attempt to trespass on the roof, on the grounds that (a) this was a remedy required to undo the harm caused to them by the original trespass, and (b) the encouragement of others to trespass (whether intentional or not) was itself an actionable nuisance. The High Court (Hugh Mercer QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the Queen’s Bench Division) accepted both arguments.  The judge recognised that the order would restrict the named defendants’ rights to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the ECHR, and that the Court was specifically required to have regard to this factor before granting an injunction, by virtue of s. 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998.  The judge held that right to freedom of expression was not absolute, and that not all restrictions upon it were of the same gravity. The judge recognised that the purpose of the injunction was to protect the claimant’s Article 1 Protocol 1 right to the peaceful enjoyment of its property from further acts of trespass. In the circumstances the judge held that interference with the named defendants’ Article 10 rights was a proportionate one. Toby Watkin appeared for the successful Claimant.

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