Joseph Barrett successful in HS2 Euston Square tunnel protest judicial review


On 10 February 2021, the High Court (Steyn J) dismissed wide-ranging applications for injunctive and other interim relief brought by environmental protesters who have tunneled under Euston Square Gardens to protest against the HS2 project.

The protesters contended that HS2 and the High Court Enforcement Group Limited (“HCEG”) (the specialist contractor whose national eviction team is responsible for effecting removal of the protesters from the site) had failed to take adequate steps to ensure that the removal operations would comply with the protesters’ Articles 2 and 3 rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Following a full day’s contested oral hearing, Steyn J dismissed the protesters’ applications in their entirety and granted mandatory injunctive relief requiring the protesters to cease any further tunneling activity, to provide details of the tunnels they have constructed to date, and to cooperate with HS2 and HCEG to leave the tunnels safely.

The Judge found that the “powerful evidence” filed by HS2 and HCEG demonstrated that the protesters’ claims challenging the legality of the removal operations had no real prospect of success.

The protesters stated at the handing down of judgment that their substantive claims for judicial review would now be withdrawn.

Joseph Barrett of 11KBW was sole counsel for HCEG throughout the proceedings.

The protests and the claims for judicial review have received significant media attention:

A copy of the judgment can be found here.