Civil Liberties & Protest
The freedom to protest is the life blood of our democracy, yet the rights of demonstrators have been threatened by government hostility and police tactics such as kettling.
At ITN, we are committed to defending the right to protest. We have expert lawyers who can robustly defend you in a criminal court and fearlessly assert your rights in a civil court or through the complaints system.
We have extensive experience and expertise in acting for protestors who have been arrested whilst demonstrating. Often, this comes down to an analysis of police powers and this in turn requires a detailed understanding of statutory and common law powers. For example, when can the police detain a protestor to prevent a breach of the peace? When can they rely on statutory powers to prevent a demonstration from taking place and what can they do when protestors refuse to comply with their orders?
Our lawyers have experience in defending a range of offences from violent disorder to aggravated trespass. We have represented defendants arrested at anti-war protests, the student protests in 2009 and TUC protests in 2010 as well as activists arrested after taking direct action. More recently, our lawyers defended many of the 182 Critical Mass cyclists arrested on the night of the opening ceremony of the London Olympic and secured the acquittal of two of those who were subsequently charged.
Lawyers in our Actions Against the Police department have a track record of obtaining apologies from Chief Constables and compensation for clients whose right to protest has been violated or who have been wrongly arrested or assaulted whilst demonstrating. We have also been successful in having officers disciplined for their misconduct.
We can advise you if you are planning a demonstration or protest and can liaise with the police if necessary. If the police have tried to limit or ban your protest, we can make representations and may even be able to challenge the decision in court on your behalf.
If you want to know more about ITN’s work in this area, contact Simon Natas or Lochlinn Parker (Actions Against the Police)
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