ABSTRACT

The mineworkers were beater by no foe so deadly as their own members, and their own members found no better weapon than the courts. The individuals who took the NUM to court stumbled on a central fact of British justice: that it is based on the individual’s, not the collective’s, rights. The Read case, heard before Mr Justice Park in the High Court on 30 July, found that the injunctions had been breached, that the breaches had interfered with the plaintiff’s business, that the pickets’ conduct had been authorised by the NUM and that the union officials gave no evidence of revoking the instructions to picket. The Read case established that the courts could be used successfully to challenge the tactic of picketing, but it was the use of the courts by miners for the same end which was of more immediate importance to the conduct of the strike.