The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition expresses support for Greenpeace as they face legal action from Shell

May 17, 2024 | News

Photo credit: Chris J. Ratcliffe / Greenpeace

The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition expresses its support for Greenpeace as it faces a legal action claiming more than three quarters of a million pounds in damages as a result of their peaceful protest against the activities of the multinational oil and gas company, Shell.

Shell is currently suing Greenpeace UK and Greenpeace International for approximately $1 million dollars (£800,000) pounds in London. The claim, which states that Greenpeace attempted to cause losses to Shell by unlawful means, was brought after Shell had obtained two injunctions in a bid to limit Greenpeace’s protest activities.

The legal action arises from when Greenpeace activists boarded a Shell oil platform while it was being transported to the North Sea in early 2023. The production platform became the subject of the protest because, at peak production, it is expected to help yield the equivalent of 45,000 barrels of oil per day. Within days of the start of the protest, which lasted nearly two weeks, Shell secured two injunctions against Greenpeace, one of which prevented them from assisting any other protesters to board the platform. 

Prior to serving the details of their claim in December 2023, Shell had threatened to sue Greenpeace for more than $8 million dollars (£6.5 million) in damages. They had called for Greenpeace UK and all other national and regional Greenpeace chapters, including those not party to the dispute, to sign an undertaking not to interfere with any Shell equipment at sea or port, anywhere in the world, ever again. These demands did not materialise in the subsequent court filing. Greenpeace’s legal costs already stand at more than half a million pounds.

“Shell’s legal action against Greenpeace is taking place in a worrying context of increasing attempts by fossil fuel companies to use the law to intimidate and silence those campaigning for remedial action to the climate crisis,” said Jessica Ní Mhainín, co-chair of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition. “Effective anti-SLAPP legislation that has the power to stop the law from being abused must be urgently adopted in order to protect those, like Greenpeace, who fulfil an essential watchdog function in our democracies.”