From a week before Canada Goose opened its doors on Regent Street back in November 2017, the store has seen many a protest against Canada Goose's use of animal fur. In response, Canada Goose sought an injunction against such protests against “persons unknown”.
Such applications have been common in recent years - particularly within the fracking industry - where the courts have had to weigh up the competing rights of businesses and protesters.
Today, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal from Canada Goose after the High Court had previously ruled that Canada Goose had fallen short in establishing its entitlement to an injunction.
The judgment provides helpful criteria for claimants who are seeking interim relief against "persons unknown" which will surely become the first port of call for advisers advising on these types of cases.
Further, the Court confirmed that some "persons unknown" could be made subject to a final injunction provided that such persons have been identified in some way (perhaps by way of video evidence) and have been served with the pleadings. This judgment is clear that a Court should only consider granting a final injunction in cases where any wrongdoers can be identified - by name or otherwise.
Canada Goose's problem is that it seeks to invoke the civil jurisdiction of the courts as a means of permanently controlling ongoing public demonstrations by a continually fluctuating body of protesters. It wishes to use remedies in private litigation in effect to prevent what is sees as public disorder. Private law remedies are not well suited to such a task. As the present case shows, what are appropriate permanent controls on such demonstrations involve complex considerations of private rights, civil liberties, public expectations and local authority policies.