Garden Court Chambers is nationally renowned for its expertise in successfully defending the right to protest for a wide range of progressive campaigners.
We have a long history of representing protestors in criminal and civil litigation, over many decades including the Mangrove 9, Poll Tax protestors, striking miners at Orgreave, Brian Haw’s occupation of Parliament Square and the Occupy movement.
We have been instructed to represent activists in most of the major protests of recent years including those against fracking, climate change, racism, war, austerity and the arms trade.
Protecting the right to freedom of expression and assembly is at the core of our founding ethos to hold state agents to account and promote fundamental human rights.
Garden Court is unique in possessing expertise across all areas of the law relating to protest: from criminal defence to injunctions to civil action and public law challenges.
Garden Court Chambers is highly ranked by the legal directories for police actions, criminal defence, civil liberties and human rights, including a number of Band 1 silks and juniors. Clients benefit from our multi-disciplinary expertise across all of these areas, allowing us to provide a seamless service, unrivalled by most other chambers.
We have a long-standing track record of pursuing bold and innovative points of law through the courts to secure the best possible outcome for our clients. We have represented campaigners in the criminal courts and the civil courts, including the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
Our barristers have lectured and written widely on protest law. Members of our team have written ‘The Protest Handbook’, which covers both the criminal and civil aspects of protest law.
Garden Court barristers have significant expertise challenging the use of civil injunctions by public authorities and corporations to prevent and restrict the rights of protesters, including injunctions against “persons unknown". We have acted in most of the lead cases in which injunctions under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997 were transposed to the protest context.
We also have extensive knowledge of human rights defences to civil injunctions associated with our leading expertise defending the rights of Gypsies and Travellers.
We have successfully challenged injunctions against animal rights protestors and environmental protestors, for example Plane Stupid and anti-fracking protestors demonstrating against INEOS and UKOG.
Civil Claims and Public Law Challenges
Our Civil Liberties and Public Law barristers can assist solicitors and campaigners with:
- Upholding protestors' rights under Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights
- Challenging the excessive or unlawful use of force by police officers
- Obtaining apologies
- Securing compensation where authorities and companies have acted unlawfully
- Changes to police practice through disciplinary and civil actions against the police
- Judicial review proceedings where the law has been misapplied
- Pre-emptively, or after the event, public law challenges to unlawful arrests, police decisions to take DNA, fingerprints or photos, decisions to retain or disclose sensitive personal information to third parties on criminal records checks for employers, or visa applications
- Pre-litigation advice to campaigners on criminal and civil liability for direct action protests.
- Planning and environmental law challenges and injunctions on behalf of campaigners to prevent unlawful development and climate change emissions
To contact the Civil Liberties Clerks, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 (0)20 7993 7600
Defending protestors in criminal proceedings
Our criminal defence protest law barristers are nationally renowned for representing protesters in the criminal courts alongside the top ranked protest solicitors in the UK. They have gathered a wealth of knowledge from many of the most high profile protest cases in recent years.
In 2015 our crime team won the Legal 500 Crime Set of the Year Award and we have since been shortlisted for the award a further two times.
Our criminal defence team has secured a number of acquittals including for Greenpeace, Occupy protestors, anti-fracking protestors, anti-racism demonstrators and many more (see examples of notable cases below).
How our criminal defence protest specialists can help:
- Scrutinising and challenging police powers (e.g. stop and search) or CPS decisions
- Representing defendants in court charged with public order offences
- Mobilising human rights arguments during criminal trials
- Defences of justification on the basis of prevention of crime and necessity