Free Webinar - Public Order Act: Where are we now?

Wednesday 14 June 2023


Russell Fraser

Will Hanson

Laura O'Brien

Kevin Blowe

This free webinar was brought to you by the Garden Court Chambers Protest Team

Date: Wednesday 14 June 2023
Time: 5:30pm – 7pm
Venue: Online  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Environmental Protest , Protest Rights , Criminal Defence , Protest Rights , Inquests and Inquiries , Claims Against the Police and Public Authorities , Civil Liberties and Human Rights , Protest Rights

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The Public Order Act has now been passed into law and has started to come into force.

In this webinar Garden Court Chambers and NetPol examined and explained the new offences and what they mean for activists and the state of the law on protest and free speech in the UK in the 21st century.


Russell Fraser, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Call: 2010)
Russell is a criminal defence specialist with experience defending in a range of cases including serious violence, fraud, and drug supply. He is particularly interested in public order, protest, and terrorism. Russell is experienced in defending clients exercising their right to protest and has appeared in many protest cases including Extinction Rebellion, the Stansted 15, Insulate Britain and the Bristol riots and is currently instructed in the Undercover Policing Inquiry.

Will Hanson, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Call: 2021)
Will became a tenant at Garden Court Chambers in November 2022, following the successful completion of his pupillage. Will is developing a broad criminal defence practice, with experience in general crime, financial crime and extradition. Will has a particular interest and experience in cases engaging human rights issues, including modern slavery, public order and protest. As a pupil, he assisted Tom Wainwright in the trial of the Colston Four. He has since represented individuals in the Crown Court and the Magistrates’ Court, who protest in support of a range of causes. The defendants have included Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain, Black Lives Matter and Palestine Action. 

Laura O’Brien, Partner, Hodge Jones & Allen
Described as “extremely passionate, knowledgeable and professional" by her clients, Laura is a dedicated defence solicitor and Crown Court advocate with a diverse caseload, with a particular interest in representing children and young adults and defendants with complex psychological and psychiatric needs. Laura has represented Extinction Rebellion protestors who were acquitted of breaching a section 14 condition on assembly. One of many acquittals secured in relation to prosecutions arising from April 2019 Extinction Rebellion protests.

Kevin Blowe, Campaigns Coordinator, Network for Police Monitoring
In his role as campaigns coordinator for the Network for Police Monitoring, Kevin brings together many of the UK's most experienced campaigners, lawyers and researchers to highlight and challenge public order policing that violates rights to freedom of assembly. For twenty-five years, Kevin was an activist and volunteer for the Newham Monitoring Project, an east London anti-racist organisation. He was also the secretary of the United Families & Friends Campaign between 1999 and 2009 and active in the family campaigns in support of the relatives of Jean Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson. More recently, he has worked with anti-fracking groups to challenge the oppressive policing and surveillance tactics employed at their protests. He is the co-author of "Restricting Rebellion", Netpol's report on the policing of Extinction Rebellion protests in London in 2019, and has written for The Guardian on the subject of protest and policing.

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