Disrupting Rebellion: The Public Order Bill and the government's latest crackdown on protest

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Date: Tuesday 11 October 2022
Time: 5.30pm - 6.30pm
Venue: Online  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Civil Liberties and Human Rights , Protest Rights , Criminal Defence

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Netpol and Garden Court Chambers jointly held an online seminar on the new Public Order Bill and its serious implications for civil liberties and protest rights.

Having successfully passed one piece of draconian public order legislation, the government is already embarking on the introduction of another. The new Public Order Bill includes measures that first appeared in 2021, during the passage of what is now the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, but which were defeated in the House of Lords. 

Ministers now want to use their large parliamentary majority to revive far-reaching proposals to further clamp down on our right to protest. These are aimed particularly at movements that use peaceful direct action and civil disobedience tactics to challenge the government and corporate inaction on the climate emergency. However, expanded police powers in the Bill would have a profound impact on many other campaigners too.


Stephanie Harrison KC, Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers (Chair)
Stephanie is a leading practitioner whose multi-disciplinary practice spans the breadth of public law and civil liberties. Stephanie's cases include those arising from unlawful detention, national security, official misconduct, abuse of power, equality and discrimination, minority rights and civil liberties. Stephanie frequently appears in the highest courts in landmark cases. 

Since 2005, she has represented a wide range of individuals and protest groups at the forefront of opposing the draconian and undemocratic use of civil injunctions to curtail and suppress protest. The campaigns include anti-arms trade, animal rights, environmental protection and anti-racism, recently acting on behalf of Friends of the Earth, Liberty, and many local activists opposing fracking and oil and gas extraction. Her work defending protest rights was recognised when she was Liberty’s Human Rights Lawyer of the year in 2013.

Tom Wainwright, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers 
Tom is one of the leading protest barristers in the country, having acted in hundreds of trials defending individuals' rights to freedom of expression and assembly. He represented the first defendant in the most high-profile protest trial of recent years, the four individuals who toppled the statue of Edward Colston, the notorious 17th-century slave trader.

He has regularly appeared in important protest cases, including; the Stansted 15, the Rotherham 12, Occupy Parliament demonstrations, Extinction Rebellion trials, BLM demonstrations, the student protest trial of Zac King and Alfie Meadows, and representing Caroline Lucas MP following her arrest for protesting against fracking. Tom is the lead author of The Protest Handbook, now in its second edition, and speaks and writes regularly about the right to protest.  

Elena Papamichael, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Elena defends in a range of cases including serious violence, robbery and drug supply. She has a particular interest in cases with a human rights aspect, including gang evidence; modern slavery defences; public order and protest. Before joining the bar, Elena was a specialist criminal defence solicitor, where she represented one of the Colston Four. Other notable cases include Black Lives Matter and anti-fracking demonstrators and successfully defending Extinction Rebellion demonstrators at trial. One of Elena's comment pieces on the prosecution of peaceful protest was published in The Times, and she has been quoted in The Guardian in relation to the use of Criminal Behaviour Orders and their implications for our civil liberties.

Kevin Blowe, Network for Police Monitoring
Kevin Blowe was the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) coordinator from 2014 and became its Campaigns Coordinator in 2021 when Netpol's staff team expanded. He has been active in community-based police monitoring initiatives since 1990, was the secretary of the United Families and Friends Campaign from 1998 to 2009, and most recently worked for six years with anti-fracking groups to challenge the oppressive policing and surveillance targeting their protests. He is the co-author of "Restricting Rebellion", Netpol's report on the policing of Extinction Rebellion protests in London in 2019.

Jude Lanchin, Associate, Bindmans LLP
Jude has an outstanding reputation in a range of areas including murder, firearms and drugs as well as protest and public order. Jude is highly respected for her serious street crime and gang-related work and represented many clients prosecuted after the 2011 London riots. Jude is a known heavyweight in relation to youth justice. She is passionate about ensuring that children and young adults get appropriate representation and guidance throughout the youth justice system, and is equally passionate about her representation of defendants charged after interactions with the police.

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