Breach of the Peace-Right to Protest

Campaigners are moved to take action to express their political beliefs and demonstrate the strength of their feelings and sometimes this concludes in prosecution.

Often charges and harassment by the police is to prevent demonstrators exercising their right of free speech.

Breach of the Peace- facing charges?

Some of our lawyers have been personally involved in such political action and we understand just how important matters of conscience are to our clients.

These cases are not just a matter of defending a person accused of an offence. Often there are deeply held beliefs which influence the course the defence must take.

We have defended clients against charges of Breach of the Peace as well as the Public Order Act arising from protests against the war in Iraq, Fascism, globalisation and the response to the G8.

We are usually the first firm campaigners will turn to when they protest. The protection of freedoms of expression and assembly are at the heart of our firm’s ethos. We have a wealth of experience in representing campaigners on issues as diverse as racial equality, animal rights, nuclear weapons, Palestine, peace, the environment, anti-austerity and social justice.

We represent those involved in marches and assemblies (trade union and anti-war marches), direct action, personal expression. We represent clients at all levels of the criminal justice system – from the police station, Sheriff Court to the Supreme Court, and to the European Court of Human Rights.

We have represented many people arrested for serious public order offences during civil disorder – such as the Govanhill riots in 2001, or G8 demonstrations at Gleneagles in 2005, as well a recent student occupations, anti-cuts, anti-Nazi, anti-war protests.

We work closely with those involved in these campaigns, protests, human rights organisations and those providing legal, practical and political support as well as other lawyers and politicians.

We are able to assist on issues linked to protest and will provide advice in advance on the risks of committing criminal offences, arrests and prosecution. We also regularly brief activists and will liaise with the police on their behalf and negotiate with the police for the right of campaigners to march.

We believe that politics and the law are intertwined and that campaigning organisations need legal advice from a politically literate source.