The High Court has today rejected Canada Goose’s bid to restrict protestors at its UK flagship London store.
Luxury outerwear retailer Canada Goose opened its first store in London at 244 Regent Street in November 2017. The retailer’s range includes items – particularly coats – that are manufactured using animal products including fur and down. This has made it a target of protests by those who are opposed to the sale of fur and animal products. From its opening, Canada Goose claims the store became a focus of protests outside and occasionally inside the premises.
On 29 November 2017, Canada Goose issued a claim form against the protestors, seeking an injunction against “persons unknown” – anyone protesting against the sale of clothing containing animal-derived materials at the store – for alleged acts of harassment, trespass and/or nuisance arising from the protest. On the same date, Canada Goose was granted a without notice interim injunction.
The case then lay dormant and so, in early 2019, the company sought a summary judgment to make the interim injunction a final order. However, the High Court has refused the company’s application for summary judgment.
The court found that an individual’s right to protest is a deeply embedded legal right, and the judge refused to restrict it when the court could not be satisfied that the protesters had committed a civil wrong. The judge considered that the definition of “persons unknown” in this case did not capture a homogeneous class of persons, and pointed out that there was nothing in the definition of “protester” that assumes wrongdoing. Therefore, “the restrictions placed on demonstrations in the injunction are neither necessary nor proportionate”.
A Canada Goose spokesman said: “To clarify, the 2017 injunction order remains in place, as directed by the Court, and will continue to be enforced as we proceed with an appeal. The safety of the public, our customers and our employees is our top priority and we strongly believe a legal injunction is necessary to ensure their rights continue to be protected.”