Smithkline Beecham Plc and Others v Avery and Others (Representing Stop Huntingdon Cruelty (‘SHAC’): QBD 26 Jun 2009

GlaxoSmithKline sought an injunction to restrain unlawful conduct by way of trespass and harassment by animal rights activists done with the aim of preventing the use of animals in medical research.
Held: The court discussed whether an order was available under the 1997 Act to protect a company. It did.
Jack J said: ‘By section 5 and schedule 1 of the Interpretation Act 1978, in a statute, unless a contrary intention appears, ‘person’ includes a body of persons corporate or unincorporated. That is the context in which section 7(5) is to be understood. Section 7(5) is necessary because otherwise there is the possibility that the sections of the Act including the new section 1(1A) could be read as covering companies who are harassed. Section 7(5) makes it clear that this is not so. By making that clear it also makes clear that it is only the victims of harassment who are so limited. So ‘person’ in section 1(1A)(c) is not limited to individuals and may be a body corporate. Thus a company may apply for an injunction pursuant to section 3A where the company falls within section 1(A)(c). The White Paper which preceded the Act made this intention very clear, but, there being no ambiguity, there is no need to refer to it. It was suggested that this construction gave rise to difficulties with section 5 and 5A. I do not think that this is so. I conclude that the corporate claimants are entitled here to claim relief under section 1(1A) of the Act.’
Jack J
[2009] EWHC 1488 (QB)
Interpretation Act 1978, Protection from Harassment Act 1997 5(1)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedBuxton and Others, Regina v CACD 1-Dec-2010
The defendant environmental protesters had been convicted of obstructing a railway. They now appealed against the terms of a restraining order made under the 1997 Act. They said that an order could not be made to protect a limited company.
Updated: 16 February 2021; Ref: scu.347385