Demonstrations at the House of Parliament

“On 1 August 2006, the notorious s132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act came into force, banning any form of exercise of the right of freedom of speech or assembly within a mile of the Houses of Parliament and an increasing number of other designated areas. Since then, many protestors have sought to define the scope of this Draconian provision.

In 2006, Hickman & Rose [and others] took the case of Blum & Others v. DPP [2006] All ER (D) 303 to the Administrative Court, arguing that s.132, as applied to the peaceful protesters in that case, was incompatible with Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It was not argued in that case that the law was generally incompatible with Human Rights. The Court rejected this submission on the basis that, once it is accepted that the law generally is compatible with human rights, there is no scope to go behind that finding to look at individual cases. In reaching this decision, the Court approved and purported to apply the leading European case of Ziliberberg v Moldova [Application number 61821/00 of 4 May 2004].

Legal Aid has now been granted for another Hickman & Rose client, Mr Moase, to seek Judicial Review of the decision of District Judge Michael Snow to refuse to state a case arising from similar (although not identical) facts - but on the basis of entirely new submissions that were not put forward in Blum, nor in any other case. H&R is confident that this case is legally distinguishable from Blum and that s.132 can be greatly reduced in its scope such as to once again allow people to peacefully demonstrate in Parliament Square, without having to fear criminal sanction for failing to get permission to do so from the police.”