A Summer of Protest

June 15, 2020

As we slowly exit the Covid19 ‘lockdown’ we have seen several protests in major cities. As life moves toward a more ‘normal’ footing, whatever that may be, and as we enter the Summer months, protest action may likely increase.

As we saw over the weekend, whilst there is a right to protest, there is a requirement to do so in consultation with the police and there are powers to help the police limit or manage the scope of any protest.   Under the Public Order Act 1986 written notice is required to hold a public procession.  The notice must specify the date, time and its proposed route, as well as the name and address of one of the people proposing to organise it.

The police can then impose conditions where they reasonably believe that there may be serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community and, in those circumstances, the police can impose condition to try and prevent disorder.  In extreme cases it is possible for the police to apply for an order prohibiting processions – if the police believe that it would not be possible to impose conditions on an event that would mitigate the risks of serious disorder. 

If you need any advice on the holding of mass gatherings, including how best to work with police and local authorities to ensure a successful and safe protest, please get in touch with us.  We can advise on all manner of alleged offences under the Public Order Act and other relevant legislation and have particular expertise concerning all aspects of the law relating to protests and the right to free speech and assembly.

We can also advise on your rights if attending a protest, including in connection with being subject to police stop and search powers and/or what to do if you are placed under arrest.   You can get more details by downloading the Tuckers Criminal Solicitors app from the Google Play store or the Apple App Store.