Eversheds Sutherland: Cut the ties to planet-wrecking companies, demand XR and HS2 Rebellion across England and Wales - Extinction Rebellion UK

Eversheds Sutherland: Cut the ties to planet-wrecking companies, demand XR and HS2 Rebellion across England and Wales

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At noon today, 60 people from Extinction Rebellion and HS2 Rebellion began disrupting the offices of law firm Eversheds Sutherland in Birmingham, Cardiff, London and Nottingham. They are protesting against the law firm’s complicity in the destruction of the planet by facilitating injunctions for companies like Esso (ExxonMobil) [1] and High Speed 2 (HS2) [2]. These injunctions criminalise nonviolent environmental protest and suppress protest rights.

In Nottingham, activists in hazmat suits used fire extinguishers to spray Eversheds Sutherland’s Canal Street building in fake oil. At Eversheds Sutherland’s City of London headquarters in Wood Street, EC2, activists in city suits and white masks with fake blood on their hands held inflatable globes of the Earth, accompanied by Red Rebels and drummers. In Birmingham, people spray painted ‘Cut the Ties To Fossil Fuels’ on the Colmore Row building and in Callahan Square, Cardiff, rebels sprayed fake oil and glued themselves to the front door of the office.

The protestors also unfurled banners and let off smoke flares.

As solicitors for HS2 and Esso, multinational law firm Eversheds Sutherland have been forerunners in criminalising nonviolent environmental protest through the use of injunctions. Injunctions are civil court orders that can be used to stop someone (or a group of people) from doing a specific act or being in a specific area. Most notably these injunctions have been used on the activists protesting against the destruction of precious woodlands, meadows, and other crucial habitats by HS2 contractors for access to construction sites. [3] The law firm also helped ban protesters from disrupting a new Esso Oil pipeline transporting aviation fuel from Southampton to west London through the use of injunctions. [4]

The injunctions are used as a method of intimidation by the courts to put activists off taking part in any further protest. This method is notorious for singling out activists, naming them and making public their addresses, and causing significant stress each time an injunction is delivered to someone’s home. 

Eversheds Sutherland who claim to be ‘helping our clients, our people and our communities to thrive’ [5] are enabling companies to continue destroying communities, the environment, and the right to protest. 

Dorothea Hackman (70), a grandmother from Camden, who took action in London, said: “I can’t stand by while civil liberties are eroded and we drift towards a police state. We are taking this action against injunctions put in place by law firms like Eversheds which prevent peaceful protest. Injunctions enable big oil companies like Exxon and developers like HS2 to continue their destruction of the planet and ecology through the reckless exploitation of fossil fuels.

Mel Price (55), a Certified Accountant from Swansea, who took part in the Cardiff action, said: “We live in a time when multinational corporations are ignoring the science and continuing to extract fossil fuels and cause widespread ecological damage contrary to everything that we are being told about the precarious state of nature and metrological systems. It seems that the only way to resist the policies of these corporations is to take direct action, not just against them but against the firms that assist them and feed off their profits to suppress movements that seek to bring about the changes that are needed to protect people all over the world. We need to make the firms see that only by cutting the ties to fossil fuels will we maintain a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.

Today’s protests are part of a series of ‘Cut the Ties’ actions” which launched in November 2022 simultaneously at 13 sites across London. The campaign targets a web of organisations propping up the fossil fuel economy, highlighting how many companies have direct ties to the fossil fuel industry.

This phase of Cut The Ties is part of a series of actions counting down to a mass protest starting 21 April 2023. Everyone who cares about the future is asked to ‘Unite to Survive’ and make their stand to let the UK government know that inaction is no longer acceptable. Thousands of people will be demanding a fair society and a citizen-led end to the fossil fuel era. ​Find out more about Unite To Survive.


Notes to editor

[1] https://www.law360.com/articles/1542379/activists-banned-from-disrupting-new-esso-oil-pipeline 

[2] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/919573/Order_dated_4_September_2020__sealed_on_18_September_.pdf 

[3] High Court Order regarding Harvil Road: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-court-order-regarding-harvil-road

[4] Activists banned From Disrupting New Esso Oil Pipeline: https://www.law360.com/articles/1542379/activists-banned-from-disrupting-new-esso-oil-pipeline

[5] Eversheds Sutherland Twitter account – ‘Helping our clients, our people and our communities to thrive’


Time has almost entirely run out to address the climate and ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, leading to societal collapse and mass loss of life. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts. 

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice.

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