A High Court judge will visit Oxford's controversial animal testing lab before he decides if campaigners' protests should be curbed.

The fight over Oxford University's bid to stop protesters using megaphones, other noise amplifiers and cameras started at the High Court in London yesterday, but Mr Justice Holland said he will visit the site on May 2 before deciding the scope of any future injunction.

The university last month won an interim injunction limiting protests of 13 named groups or individuals, including the lab opponents Speak and the Animal Liberation Front.

The existing temporary injunction bans protesters from using whistles, klaxons, sirens, megaphones and any other form of noise amplification outside the animal research laboratory in South Parks Road.

It also stops animal rights protesters from using cameras, or video recording equipment to film construction workers on the site.

Oxford University wants to create a no picketing or loitering exclusion zone around the medical research laboratory construction site.

The exclusion zone would include Mansfield Road, South Parks Road, Holywell Street, and Cross Street.

The university also wants to ban noise amplification tools across the city from being used by animal rights protesters.

Oxford University barrister Charles Flint requested that as an interim measure Mr Justice Holland extend the temporary injunction to prevent protesters from demonstrating outside university buildings during exams, which are due to start on April 18 and continue until the middle of July.

Mr Flint said: "Witness statements show, in our submission, the conduct of the defendants has actually caused real distress and alarm to many people working in departments nearby and those using them.

"Threatening and abusive language has been used and combined with what Speak itself describe as a barrage of noise, has affected a number of people working in the area."

About 25 protesters demonstrated at the entrance to the High Court all day yesterday. Many of them had red tape covering their mouths to signify they felt the university was trying to gag their right to protest.

Animal Rights protester Emma Speed, from Essex, said: "We have run a legal campaign throughout and already have an injunction against us. There is no need for them to extend it any further."

The hearing continues.