Injunction granted to Jockey Club extended for five years

A UK High Court judge on Wednesday extended for up to a period of five years an injunction previously granted to The Jockey Club which prohibits acts intended to disrupt horseracing at Epsom Downs.

British racing’s largest commercial operator and employer was forced to take legal action in May last year when protesters from Animal Rising made it repeatedly clear that they planned to breach security at the Surrey racecourse to stage a disruptive protest.

At the time The Jockey Club was granted an interim injunction prohibiting trespass and protests intended to disrupt racing at Epsom Downs Racecourse. The order has remained in place, while the racecourse operator sought a ‘final injunction’ to restrain acts of trespass and interference with racing at the track.

High Court judge Sir Anthony Mann has now ruled that the final injunction should be granted, which means the conditions previously put in place are extended for up to a further five years, subject to an annual review.

Specifically, the order prohibits individuals from entering onto the racetrack and carrying out other acts with the intention and/or effect of disrupting any raceday at Epsom Downs Racecourse. Such acts include intentionally causing objects to enter the racetrack, entering the parade ring, entering and/or remaining on the horses’ route to the parade ring and to the racetrack without authorisation, and intentionally endangering any person at the venue.

Individuals acting in breach of the court order could be subject to proceedings for contempt of court, which may lead to a fine and/or imprisonment. These provisions will apply to every race meeting at Epsom Downs.

The Jockey Club hopes that the granting of a final injunction will help prevent protests like the ones staged by Animal Rising at the 2023 Grand National at Aintree and the Derby at Epsom Downs last year.

Nevin Truesdale, Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, said: "The interim injunction which was granted last May has remained in place for all fixtures staged at Epsom Downs since and has proved a very effective deterrent to those who had been considering illegally and irresponsibly protesting on racedays, with potential unknown and dangerous consequences for jockeys, racegoers and the horses themselves.

"We have always said that we will do everything in our power to ensure that the safety of all horses, participants, racegoers and our employees is not compromised by such reckless actions and we are extremely pleased that this final injunction to restrain acts of trespass will keep the current restrictions in place for up to a further five years.

“We will never tolerate or acquiesce in a repeat of the disruption we saw last year and we welcome this High Court ruling.”
The Jockey Club was represented at the High Court by Alan Maclean KC.