Cuciurean v The Secretary of State for Transport and Another: CA 16 Mar 2021

Appeal against findings of contempt of court by breach of an injunction prohibiting trespass on land, and against the sanctions imposed. The breaches were committed as part of a protest against the construction of the HS2 railway line.
Held: Applications to commit for contempt of court in protest cases engage the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly protected under Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, where the court has already conducted the necessary balancing process and granted an injunction, that order must be obeyed unless and until it has been set aside.
Providing there has been compliance with the terms granting permission to serve the injunction order by alternative means, the respondent will be taken to have notice of the terms of the injunction. There is no requirement of knowledge. Ignorance of the terms of the injunction is relevant only to penalty, not liability, although where the Court was satisfied that the respondent was ignorant of the relevant order or its terms, then no penalty would be imposed for what would amount to a wholly technical breach.


Lord Justice Warby


[2021] EWCA Civ 357




England and Wales


Appeal fromSecretary of State for Transport and Another v Cuciurean ChD 16-Oct-2020
Sentencing after finding of contempt.
Held: It is not only the applicant but the court – and, we would add, the public – which has an interest in deterring disobedience to its orders and in upholding the rule of law. . .

Cited by:

CitedNational Highways Ltd v Heyatawin and Others QBD 17-Nov-2021
The court considered allegations of contempt of court by protesters disobeying court injunctions.
Held: The allegations were variously proved, and indeed were largely uncontested. Sentences of imprisonment were imposed ranging up to 6 months: . .
CitedMBR Acres Ltd and Others v McGivern QBD 2-Aug-2022
Contempt Procedures Not to be abused
Reasons for dismissal of contempt application.
Held: The contempt application against Ms McGivern was dismissed and certified as being totally without merit.
The court does not grant injunctions to parties to litigation to be used as a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 04 August 2022; Ref: scu.659567