Court unanimously rejects Occupy LSX appeal

The Court of Appeal has refused protestors camped outside London’s St Paul’s Cathedral  permission to appeal Mr Justice Lindblom’s ruling that they could be removed from the site.

Lord Neuberger
Lord Neuberger

The Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger gave the substantive ruling rejecting all points of appeal forwarded by the appellants, he was unanimously supported by Lord Justices Burnton and MacFarlane.

The appeal court upheld Londblom J’s ruling that the case brought by the City of London Corporation (CoLC) against the Occupy London group was “entirely lawful and justified”.

According to today’s judgment the five appellants, represented by John Cooper QC of 25 Bedford Row, had looked to have Linblom J’s order dismissed in its entirety.

One appellant, Paul Randle-Jolliffe, who represented himself, contended that the ruling should not apply to him as a “‘Magna Carta heir”, the judgment said.

It continued: “Mr Randle-Jolliffe also invokes ‘constitutional and superior law issues’ which, he alleges, prevail over statutory, common law, and human rights law. Again that is simply wrong – at least in a court of law.”

The appellants also suggested that Lindblom J was wrong to conclude that crime would rise in the area as a result of their presence.

Neuberger MR reacted: “There’s no guarantee that the admirable care to ensure that criminal activity is kept to a minimum would continue. Anyway, it is fanciful to suggest that the judge would not have reached the conclusion that he did if he had thought that the evidence or arguments did not satisfy him that he should take this factor into account.”

Arguments were also made that the judge was wrong to contend that the camp was a “protest camp”, with the appellants claiming it was more of a movement.

The judgment said: “The aims of the movement, as implemented in the camp, include education, heightening awareness and fostering debate.

“However, the judge was plainly aware of this […] Further those activities do include protesting; indeed they may be said to be based on protesting, in the sense that the Occupy Movement’s raison d’etre is, at least to a substantial extent, based on its opposition to many of the policies, especially economic, financial, and environmental policies, adopted by the United Kingdom Government.”

Cooper told the court that Lindblom J’s order was too intrusive, but the appeal court said this had already been considered and the protesters had been unable to suggest a less intrusive plan as an alternative.

No new points of appeal had been raised by the protesters, the court said, and the appeal was rejected.

In a statement Cooper, who was instructed by Karen Todner of Kaim Todner Solicitors, said: “Of course my clients are disappointed that in accordance with the strict interpretation of domestic law, they’ve not prevailed today, but they do not regret one second of the chance afforded to them to make their case and challenge the approach of the corporation and the church.

“My clients will now be urgently considering their next legal steps with their legal team and will, we anticipate, be bringing their case to the European Court of Human Rights to give that court the opportunity to consider the state of public protest law in Britain.”

Landmark Chambers’ David Forsdick advised the corporation, with the work being led in-house by City solicitor and comptroller Andrew Colvin.