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Protest Law Update – Spring 2024

Speaker: Laura O’Brien
Chambers: Hodge Jones & Allen

Laura is a Partner and Head of the Protest Team. She is a dedicated defence solicitor and Crown Court advocate who thrives on the legal and strategic challenge involved in preparing cases for trial. She fights on behalf of her clients to avoid prosecution wherever possible, whether by challenging the evidential basis of an investigation or prosecution or by challenging a decision that prosecution is in the public interest.

In this presentation, Laura provides a critical update on the mechanics of protest law in the UK which have undergone significant changes in recent years. She outlines up to date case law, revealing the application of landmark changes, revealing how defences can question whether or not convictions are proportionate interferences with human rights. She also introduces new powers, such as serious disruption prevention orers (SDPOs) and a new offence of “interfering with key national infrastructure” under section 7 of the Public Order Act 2023, the first trial for which was heard very recently on 7th May 2024.

Key Words/Topics

  • Protest Law
  • Judicial Review
  • DPP v Ziegler [2021] UKSC 23
  • DPP v Wood [2023] EWHC 2938 (Admin)
  • Section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986
  • Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights
  • Public Order Act 2023
  • R v Casserly [2024] EWCA Crim 25
  • Freedom of Speech
  • R v Jordan [2024] EWCA Crim 229
  • AG Ref 1 of 2023 [2024] EWCA Crim 243
  • Criminal Damage 1971
  • Interfering with Key National Infrastructure
  • Serious Disruption Prevention Orders