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The New Law of Peaceful Protest


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Table of Contents

1: Introduction I. Overview II. Historical Development of The Right III. The Function of Free Speech and Protest IV. Protest and Democracy V. A Simple Dichotomy: Protest v Direct Action VI. Deciding to Engage in Collective Action VII. The Socio-Legal Aspect VIII. The Role and Behaviour of the Police IX. Protest and Protesters at the Start of the New Millenium 2: Protecting Human Rights in the Human Rights Act Era I. The Right to Protest at Common Law II. The European Convention on Human Rights III. A Home-Grown Bill of Rights? The Human Rights Act 1998 IV. Conclusion: The Likely Influence of the Human Rights Act on Peaceful Protest 3: Strasbourg Case Law on the Right to Peaceful Protest I. Introduction II. A Content Study of Protest Cases III. The Scope of the Right to Peaceful Protest IV. The Extent of Lawful Interferences with the Right V. Conclusions 4: The Locus of Protest I. Introduction and Overview II. Rights of Access Over Land for the Purpose of Protest III. Place-Specific Restrictions on Protest IV. Police Powers in Relation to Protests on Land V. Conclusion 5: Peaceful Persuasion and Communicating Dissent I. Overview II. Marching, Meeting and Holding Demonstrations: The Statutory Scheme in the Public Order Act 1986 III. Showing Support for Causes and Campaigns IV. Conclusion 6: Taking Direct Action I. Introduction and Overview II. Direct Action Protesters as Terrorists III. Crimes of Violence and Damage IV. Aggravated Trespass V. Harassment and Intimidation VI. Other Criminal Measures to Control Direct Action VII. Conclusion 7: Preventive Action by the Police I. The General Duties of the Police II. Stop and Search Powers III. Preventing Breaches of the Peace IV. Anti-Social Behaviour Orders V. Dispersal Orders VI. Strasbourg Case Law VII. Conclusions 8: Private Law Remedies and Proceedings I. Introduction II. Possible Claims by Private Parties III. Conclusions 9: Conclusion I. A Strasbourg Snapshot: The Right of Peaceful Protest under the ECHR in 2010 II. A Domestic Snapshot: The Right of Peaceful Protest in England and Wales in 2010 III. The Wider Picture: A Recap of Some Key Themes IV. An Agenda for Change Appendix I: European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 Appendix II: Bringing an Individual Case to Strasbourg: An Overview Appendix III: A Summary of Strasbourg Case Law on the Right to Peaceful Protest Appendix IV: Human Rights Act 1998, Chapter 42

About the Author

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


The book is a treasure trove of sustained legal exposition and anaysis and intelligently critical reflection on a field which conflicting rights and interests abound, making good use of relevant literature as well as law. Mead's critique is detailed, scholarly and short, this is a fine book. By providing high-quality and deep legal analysis and principled critique in a clear conceptual and social framework based on exhaustive research, Dr. Mead has enriched the literature of public protest and public law. It is increasingly unusual for a book on law to be valuable alike to students, scholars, practitioners and judges. In the Preface, Dr. Mead thanks his family who have lost out as a result of his preoccupation over the many years that were dominated by the book. Grateful readers, while sympathising, can reassure them that (for us at least) their suffering was worthwhile. David Feldman The Cambridge Law Journal Volume 70/2 - July 2011 ... a comprehensive review, and critical analysis, of the legal framework regulating protest in the United Kingdom today. ... Mead provides an often over-looked aspect of the framework: how the public-private law divide impacts on protesters, both in terms of affecting where people can protest and what sanctions can be imposed on them. Mead pulls together the plethora of domestic legislation and case law affecting the right to protest in order to critically assess how protest rights operate in practice and what balance is currently being struck. ...this book is an invaluable resource, offering an insightful analysis of what is a huge array of material and issues. This book will appeal to a wide range of readers, from academics to legal practitioners, to activists and campaigners operating at the cold face. Deirdre Bourke The Law and Politics Book Review Volume 21, Number 7 The great strength of Mead's work is threefold: first, he takes a comprehensive look at the interplay between the Strasbourg case law and those of the UK courts on the right to protest; secondly, he takes considerable pains to consider the social context of policing and protest in the United Kingdom, demonstrating a careful understanding of how the law cannot hope to be properly analysed in isolation; thirdly, he casts his net much more broadly than just the right to protest vis-a-vis public order legislation. ...there is much in the book that practitioners and even campaigners would find extremely valuable, including as it does coverage of such issues as police powers, aggravated trespass, and dispersal orders... ...Mead's book deserves to be the touchstone for academic discussion of the right to protest in the United Kingdom for years to come. Eric Metcalfe Public Law July 2011 This is an opportune moment to publish a book on peaceful protest in the UK...the exploration of the changing protest landscape provides the book with its impetus: its strength lies in its insightful discussion of the Strasbourg case law on protest, setting the scene for the attempt to find points of synthesis between such law and the range of public order provisions introduced over the past 40 years...a well-researched, highly detailed, valuable, gap-filling contribution to the canon of literature on civil liberties and human rights, and one that should be recommended to students and researchers in this and related disciplines. It is the first book of its kind to explore the current law affecting protest in this comprehensive way against the backdrop of human rights norms...Mead's book is an accessible and highly stimulating venture into an area of great contemporary significance. Helen Fenwick Times Higher Education 24th June 2010 The book is astonishingly up to date. It covers the protests at the G-20 summit last year and Tamil protests outside Westminster that year. Some cases of 2010 are also discussed in this massive work of great learning. This erudite work deserves a large readership... A. G. Noorani Frontline August 2010

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