The New Law of Peaceful Protest: Rights and Regulation in the Human Rights Act Era

The New Law of Peaceful Protest: Rights and Regulation in the Human Rights Act Era

by David Mead


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The right to demonstrate is considered fundamental to any democratic system of government, yet in recent years it has received little academic attention. However, events following the G20 protests in April 2009 make this book a particularly timely work. Setting out and explaining in detail the UK's domestic legal framework that surrounds the right of peaceful protest, the book provides the first extensive analysis of the Strasbourg jurisprudence under Articles 10 and 11, offering a critical look at cases such as Öllinger, Vajnai, Bukta, Oya Ataman, Patyi, and Ziliberberg, as well as the older cases that form its bedrock. The principles drawn from this case-law are then synthesized into the remainder of the book to see how the right of protest enshrined in the UK's Human Rights Act now operates. The five central chapters show how the right is defined: the restrictions on the choice of location of a protest * the constraints imposed on peaceful persuasive protest * the near total intolerance of any form of obstructive or disruptive protest * the scope of preventive action by the police * the extent to which commercial targets can avail themselves of private law remedies. This contemporary landscape is highlighted by critical analysis of UK principles and case-law, including the leading decisions in Laporte, Austin, Jones, and Lloyd and Kay. The book also highlights and develops themes that are currently under-theorized or ignored, including the interplay of the public and the private in regulating protest, the pivotal role played by land ownership rules, and the disjuncture between the law in the books and the law in action. While the book will appeal primarily to scholars, students, and practitioners of law - as well as to campaigners and interest groups - it also offers political and socio-legal insights which will be of interest equally to non-specialists.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781841136219
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Pages: 530
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

David Mead is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of East Anglia.

Table of Contents

Preface v

Table of Cases xi

Table of UK Legislation xxv

1 Introduction 1

I Overview 1

II Historical Development of The Right 4

III The Function of Free Speech and Protest 6

IV Protest and Democracy 9

V A Simple Dichotomy: Protest v Direct Action 11

VI Deciding to Engage in Collective Action 12

VII The Socio-Legal Aspect 14

VIII The Role and Behaviour of the Police 18

IX Protest and Protesters at the Start of the New Millenium 20

2 Protecting Human Rights in the Human Rights Act Era 25

I The Right to Protest at Common Law 26

II The European Convention on Human Rights 29

III A Home-Grown Bill of Rights? The Human Rights Act 1998 38

IV Conclusion: The Likely Influence of the Human Rights Act on Peaceful Protest 55

3 Strasbourg Case Law on the Right to Peaceful Protest 57

I Introduction 57

II A Content Study of Protest Cases 59

III The Scope of the Right to Peaceful Protest 63

IV The Extent of Lawful Interferences with the Right 76

V Conclusions 114

4 The Locus of Protest 118

I Introduction and Overview 118

II Rights of Access Over Land for the Purpose of Protest 121

III Place-Specific Restrictions on Protest 138

IV Police Powers in Relation to Protests on Land 162

V Conclusion 167

5 Peaceful Persuasion and Communicating Dissent 168

I Overview 168

II Marching, Meeting and Holding Demonstrations: The Statutory Scheme in the Public Order Act 1986 169

III Showing Support for Causes and Campaigns 213

IV Conclusion 233

6 Taking Direct Action 237

I Introduction and Overview 237

II Direct Action Protesters as Terrorists 239

III Crimes of Violence and Damage 241

IV Aggravated Trespass 252

V Harassment and Intimidation 264

VI Other Criminal Measures to Control Direct Action 292

VII Conclusion 306

7 Preventive Action by the Police 311

I The General Duties of the Police 311

II Stop and Search Powers 313

III Preventing Breaches of the Peace 319

IV Anti-Social Behaviour Orders 362

V Dispersal Orders 364

VI Strasbourg Case Law 373

VII Conclusions 375

8 Private law Remedies and Proceedings 381

I Introduction 382

II Possible Claims by Private Parties 384

III Conclusions 398

9 Conclusion 399

I A Strasbourg Snapshot: The Right of Peaceful Protest under the ECHR in 2010 400

II A Domestic Snapshot: The Right of Peaceful Protest in England and Wales in 2010 401

III The Wider Picture: A Recap of Some Key Themes 408

IV An Agenda for Change 412

Appendix I European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 426

Appendix II Bringing an Individual Case to Strasbourg: An Overview 431

Appendix III A Summary of Strasbourg Case Law on the Right to Peaceful Protest 433

Appendix IV Human Rights Act 1998, Chapter 42 467

Bibliography 477

Index 485

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