‘Newcomer injunctions’ – a Supreme Court ruling on a wholly new type of injunction

Wolverhampton City Council and others v London Gypsies and Travellers and others (2023)


The Supreme Court determined whether a court has the power to grant a “newcomer injunction”, which binds persons who are not identifiable at the time when the order is granted and who have not at that time infringed or threatened to infringe the Claimant’s rights but may do so in future.

The Court identified various distinguishing features of ‘newcomer injunctions’ such as:-

  • They are made against persons who are truly unknowable and so potentially apply to anyone in the world
  • They are always made on a without notice basis
  • They are made in cases where the persons restrained are unlikely to have any right to do the thing that is prohibited by the order so that there is unlikely to be any triable issue of fact or law
  • The ‘newcomers’ would be unlikely to engage with any proceedings and the usual processes of eviction/injunction against named parties are inadequate because the occupation is short term


The Supreme Court decided that the newcomer injunction is a wholly new type of injunction.

On what basis does the court have the power to grant ‘newcomer injunctions’? 

Section 37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 provides that the High Court may grant an injunction in all cases in which it appears to the court to be “just and convenient” to do so. The Supreme Court considered the equitable principles governing situations where it would be “just and convenient” and concluded that there is no obstacle in the way of granting newcomer injunctions subject to the following considerations and conditions:

  1. There is a compelling need for the protection of civil rights or to enforce public law, which is not adequately met by any of the other measures available. There was limited discussion as to whether byelaws or other measures might be suitable (on a case by case basis);
  2. There is procedural protection for the rights of newcomers including an obligation to take reasonable steps to draw the application and order to their attention and liberty to apply to have any injunction varied or discharged;
  3. Applicants must disclose any correspondence with newcomers in which they oppose the grant of an injunction;
  4. Injunctions are tailored in both duration and geographical location; and
  5. It must otherwise be just and convenient that the injunction be granted on the facts of the case.


The decision is a detailed guide on local authorities’ ability to apply for injunctions against newcomers in relation to traveller encampments. The Court has, however, also recognised that it will have much wider significance and will be relevant wherever there is a potential conflict between the maintenance of public or private rights and the future behaviour of individuals who cannot be identified in advance.

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Here at Keelys we have a team of experienced solicitors who are here to help provide you with all legal advice and support in relation to injunctions.

For further information or to discuss your matter in further detail, please contact our Joanne Davies at jdavies@keelys.co.uk or on 01543 420000.

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