Always make full and frank disclosure to the court when applying for a without notice injunction, writes Sian Evans.
On 18 June 2019, the case of Birmingham City Council v Afsar and others  EWHC 1560 (QB) was held in the High Court. This case re-emphasised the importance of complying with all of the requirements for a without notice injunction application, particularly the duty to provide full and frank disclosure. Details of the case are set out below.
This case involved the high-profile situation at a Birmingham primary school, where there had been protests outside the school, objecting to what children were being taught on issues such as sexual behaviour and gender.
As a result of the protests, Birmingham City Council had sought, and been granted, a without notice injunction against the three named defendants and other persons unknown. The injunction created an exclusion zone which the defendants and unknown persons were not allowed to enter.
The three defendants applied to have the injunctions withdrawn against them. The Court found that the council had omitted evidence relevant to the defendant’s position, including the fact that no criminal offence had been found against the protesters.
The Court criticised the council for not providing sufficient evidence to justify that the injunction must be without notice.
Whilst the defendants were successful in having the injunction discharged against them, the Court did grant new, limited injunctions against the defendants.
Any party looking to obtain a without notice injunction has to provide all evidence to the Court to ensure compliance with the duty of full and frank disclosure. Whilst limited injunctions were granted in this case, other parties may not be so lucky. Factors such as the distress caused to the children and intimidating body language of some of the protestors were some of the reasons why the Court felt an injunction was required in this case.
Moving forward, to comply with all of their required duties, parties need to be aware of arguments that may be relevant for a defendant who is subject to a without notice injunction.
As much evidence as possible must be obtained to give the applying party the best possible chance of persuading a Court that the injunction is required without notice.
Social landlords can sometimes be criticised in respect of their use of without notice injunctions and the guidance in this case should be borne in mind.