Court quashes anti-protest Regulations following Liberty legal challenge

The Divisional Court has, today, ruled that the Home Secretary acted unlawfully in introducing Regulations to lower the threshold on which the police can act to impose conditions on public processions and protests. The Public Order Act 1986 (Serious Disruption to the Life of the Community) Regulations 2023 sought to change the definition of “serious disruption” so as to permit the police to impose limitations on protests where there was a “more than minor” disruption. The Regulations purported to change primary legislation and the balance that Parliament had struck.

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested under these measures since they were created, including the climate activist Greta Thunberg who was acquitted of all charges in a hearing in February 2024.

The Home Secretary will now seek to challenge the ruling in the Court of Appeal.

Jude Bunting KC acted for Liberty, with Hollie Higgins and Roz Comyn, instructed by Katy Watts of Liberty.

For more information, see Liberty, BBC, and Guardian.

The judgment is available here.