Protest Law

“A firm dedicated to the old-fashioned virtue of conscientious hard work in pursuit of their clients interests”.

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Protest and Political Interest

Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors is one of the leading firms where your case has a political dimension. This can occur if you are arrested at a protest or direct action or if you are being stopped or punished for what you have said. You might be a journalist reporting on events or even a politician or political/trade union activist that is in need of a lawyer. Each of these situations requires a lawyer who understands the different political considerations involved and can use their skills to help the client navigate the issues

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Why Hodge Jones & Allen?

Many of our lawyers are active in politics or wider social justice causes themselves. As well as our technical knowledge of the law, we understand what our clients seek to achieve and how they seek to achieve it. . We work collaboratively and innovatively with our colleagues in the Civil Liberties & Human Rights team to achieve our clients objectives.

  • Experience

We have been involved in the most high profile protests in the last 10 years including Extinction Rebellion (protest in central London about climate crisis), Heathrow 13 (protest about 3rd runway and environmental concerns), animal rights (SHAC), Occupy, anti- austerity and trade union marches. We make a difference as we are experts in the areas where we know it makes a difference to your case.

  • Experts in Reviewing police powers

On each occasion, prosecution cases need to be forensically analysed to determine whether the police were using their powers properly and whether those powers were consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights. We are experts in holding the police to account in public order situations and ensuring that our client’s fundamental human rights are protected.

  • Experts in Direct action Cases

Direct Action cases such as Stansted 15 (seeking to prevent people being unlawfully deported by the Government on Charter flights where those people’s lives were at risk on return) or where activists sought to prevent promotion of torture and other unlawful weapons at the DSEI arms fair have their own challenges. Expertise in using justification or necessity defences and showing that the activists were acting in a reasonable and proportionate way to prevent a greater harm from occurring.

  • Experts in Free speech and Human Rights

HJA also acts in the niche area where your right to free speech is being threatened by other state bodies. For example, we have acted where students have been told they will face disciplinary proceedings for protesting or voicing their opinion and where other institutions take action because of certain held beliefs. This requires lawyers that specialise in European Human Rights but also a background in litigation.

  • Experts for Journalists

As well as protestors or activists, others can be caught up in political actions. In particular, we have acted for journalists who have been covering events and sought to protect and enhance the principle of a free press. Our knowledge and personal commitment to these principles has allowed us to join fights against censorship and to scrutinize police actions in high profile situations.

  • Experts for politicians / Trade unions

We have also advised politicians who are being investigated themselves. We have had notable success in these areas and we understand that in these cases, how the defence is conducted is as important as the legal outcome and our clients value our nuanced and discreet approach. We know that for many of our clients, their reputation during an investigation is almost as important as the outcome itself.

Featured Client Cases

Featured Case

Protestors against the arms trade

Since 2011, Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors has acted for protestors against the arms trade in the Excel Centre at the bi-annual Arms Fair. Despite hundreds of arrests and prosecutions, Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors have secured acquittals on the vast majority of occasions.

Featured Case

Protestors against the arms trade

Stansted 15. Acted for all 15 defendants in a joint action by End Deportations, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants and Plane Stupid. Action sought to prevent the deportation of migrants to unsafe countries. Clients convicted but proceedings ongoing at Court of Appeal.

Featured Case

Anti – Austerity Marche

FM 145 – Acted for a number of clients in the UK UNCUT occupation of Fortnum and Mason during the anti- austerity marches. Secured the first acquittals in the case, ending with all but one Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors client being acquitted.

Featured Case

Expenses Scandal

Acted for a peer during the expenses scandal. Considering the parliamentary system of expenses and rules – with minimum sentence imposed as a result.

Featured Case

Right to Free Speech

Acted for 2 journalists who were covering a demonstration in central London. Cases dropped after representations based on the right to free speech.

How to get in touch?

  • Top Ranked Solicitors

Our top ranking team have years of experience representing the innocent. We stand up to the prosecution who will always be represented by an experienced solicitor or barrister. We know how to fight and win cases.

  • Here to help

Representing you at the Police Station or in Court If you need urgent representation call us today. Share a few details with us and we’ll let you know how we can help you.

  • Call FREE 24 hours a day

If you are calling outside our offices hours (9:30am to 5:30pm) call our free phone 24 telephone 0844 8480 222. There will always be someone at the other end of the telephone to assist you.

Frequently asked questions

Can the Police restrict the demonstrations, protests or processions?

Under section 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act, the senior officer present at the scene of a procession or assembly may impose conditions on a demonstration.

The senior officer can impose conditions, if having regard to all the circumstances, he reasonably believes that it may result in:

  • Serious public disorder
  • Serious damage to property
  • Serious disruption to the life of the community.
  • The purpose of the organizer(s) is the intimidation of others with a view to compelling them “not to do an act which they have a right to do”.

The officer will need to take into account your right to free speech and protest as set out in the European Convention of Human Rights (articles 10 and 11). There can often be arguments about whether the conditions were properly imposed or whether they have been properly communicated to the protestors.

Can I use a necessity defence in my case?

There is an overall defence in criminal cases, only available in limited cases where you are only doing something to prevent another criminal offence, where you are seeking to prevent damage elsewhere from occurring or where you are seeking to prevent death or serious injury to others. These types of defences have been used, with varying degrees of success, for protestors in the past. In a necessity defence, broadly the court will have to address the following questions

Was the offence [act] committed by you necessary, or did you reasonably believed [them] to have been necessary, for the purpose of avoiding or preventing death or serious injury to yourself or others

Was the commission of the offence, viewed objectively (i.e. by a sober person of reasonable firmness of the same age and gender as you) reasonable and proportionate, having regard to the evil to be avoided

In protest cases, this can be a difficult defence to succeed on. There are difficulties that the prosecution will argue that the danger is too remote from your actions and that what you were really doing was raising publicity to persuade the government to implement new policies – rather than directly saving someone’s life yourself. The prosecution will also argue that the defence does not apply as you are acting out of “general concern” rather than for specific individuals that you might have some responsibility for. However, we have experience and expertise of putting these defences forwarded in a range of circumstances.

 

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    Address:Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors
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