10:02am Wednesday 22nd February 2012
© Press Association 2014
Anti-capitalist protesters camping outside St Paul's Cathedral have been refused permission by the Court of Appeal to challenge orders evicting them.
Three judges headed by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, dismissed applications for permission to appeal against Mr Justice Lindblom's ruling in the High Court last month.
Granting orders for possession and injunctions against Occupy London, Mr Justice Lindblom had said the proposed action by the City of London Corporation - which it pledged not to enforce pending appeal - was "entirely lawful and justified", as well as necessary and proportionate.
The appeal judges said the protesters - who are understood to have reached the end of the legal road - had raised no arguable case.
The City said there was an "overwhelming" case for the court's intervention because of the impact on St Paul's Churchyard.
The limited interference with the protesters' rights entailed in the removal of the tents - which numbered up to 200 and have been there since October 15 last year - was justified and proportionate, given the rights and freedoms of others.
Its lawyers said that the camp acted as a magnet for disorder and crime in the area, had an impact on worshippers, affected trade and caused waste and hygiene problems.
But the Court of Appeal was told that the steps taken to evict protesters were more "extreme and draconian" than necessary.
John Cooper QC said that the form and make-up of the camp as represented by the tents was part of the expression and integrity of the protest, which was not intended to be indefinite. He said the judge had carried out a "rubber-stamping exercise" rather than a rigorous consideration of the alternatives.
Later, the City said it would now enforce the orders made by the High Court for the removal of the tents and equipment, but no timescale was given.
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