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How Heathrow’s lawyer has made a career of opposing right to protest

By Martin Hickman   Independent

4 August 2007

To his many enemies, Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden is the establishment solicitor
who gags their protests.   To his clients, he is legal barbed wire – an expert
who can hold back a rabble.   For the past week, the double-barrelled former Army
officer has been seeking to prevent anti-aviation campaigners from holding a “climate
camp” at Heathrow. But the British Airports Authority (BAA) is just one of many
corporations who have called on Mr Lawson-Cruttenden’s expertise.  

Arms manufacturers, GM crop pioneers and animal research establishments can all
thank him for ridding them of unwanted, and sometimes violent, attention. During
the past 11 years, his small London law firm Lawson Cruttenden & Co has become
“the market leader” in the area.

This week, the former Blues and Royals lieutenant continued his march into uncharted
areas of the law by seeking – potentially – to stop five million people from pitching
up at Heathrow Airport.   Protesters from groups such as AirportWatch – including
the National Trust and RSPB – found themselves at risk of being barred from the
airport and from travelling there on the Piccadilly Line, parts of the M4 and
M25, and even platforms six and seven of Paddington station.   Unless, that is,
they gave 24 hours notice to police, carried no loudhailers, congregated in numbers
of no more than 100 on three small patches of land at the edge of the airport,
and did not pitch any tents at the Camp for Climate Action, on 14 to 21 August.

“I am a lawyer.   I am a rottweiler.   Give me a bone and I am going to get a bite,”
he said.   So far his cases have run up against animal rights activists who have
often represented themselves.   In the case of Heathrow Airport Limited versus
Garman, he is taking on protesters who have the means to hire a QC, Nicholas Blake.  
Judgement is on Monday.   Has Mr Lawson-Cruttenden reached the limits of his favourite

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