Greenpeace wins Scottish court case against Cairn, injunction rejected

Press release - 27 March, 2013
Amsterdam, March 27, 2013 — Greenpeace International has won an important court ruling today when a Scottish court denied a request from oil company Cairn seeking to stifle protest against its Arctic drilling plans.

In its ruling, the Scottish Court of Session, one of two Supreme Courts in Scotland, denied Cairn Energy a permanent injunction against Greenpeace International following a Greenpeace UK protest at Cairn's headquarters in July 2011.

"This should put an end to oil companies seeking to use the courts to stop campaigns to protect the Arctic. We’re pleased that the court recognises Greenpeace International always takes responsibility for its actions which is a core tenet of civil disobedience," Greenpeace International General Counsel Jasper Teulings said.

Greenpeace International Arctic Campaigner Ben Ayliffe said:

"We're delighted that this attempt to lump together two entirely separate parts of Greenpeace has failed.  The idea that there was a grand and secretive global conspiracy between Greenpeace International and Greenpeace UK to send a group of fancy dress polar bears into Cairn’s office is ludicrous. Thankfully the judge agreed and Cairn’s attempt to stifle public protest over its operations looks as ill-judged as its Arctic drilling programme. The challenge now is to make sure that the far north is kept off-limits to the rest of the oil industry."

Greenpeace UK organised a protest in July 2011, when a group of polar bears entered Cairn's headquarters in Edinburgh to look for the company's notorious oil spill response plan, which the company had refused to make public. (1) The Greenlandic government overruled the company and released the plan in August 2011. (2)The plan generated widespread criticism from experts. (3)

The protest lasted for a few hours until the police removed all activists. Cairn later petitioned for a permanent injunction against Greenpeace International aimed at preventing future protests at its offices and to stop protests that would disrupt or interfere with its operations. Greenpeace International maintained it was not involved in the UK protest.

"Without public scrutiny and the ability to shine a light on risky oil drilling at the ends of the earth, companies like Cairn would be able to operate with impunity, even though it remains entirely unprepared to meet the challenges of working in one of the world’s most remote and extreme environments," Ayliffe said. 


Aaron Gray-Block, Greenpeace International media officer, +31 64 616 2026
Ben Ayliffe, Greenpeace International Arctic campaigner, +44 7815 708 683
Greenpeace International Press Desk Hotline: +31 20 718 2470