Westminster Legal Policy Forum

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Next steps for protest and policing - new legislation and police powers, the place of protest in daily life, rights and responsibilities, safety, disruption and response, and implications of new forms of protest

Morning, Monday, 5th December 2022

This conference examines the future of protest rights, tactics, and police response in England and Wales.

It comes as the Public Order Bill continues its passage through Parliament and will be a timely opportunity to discuss priorities for the legislation, its implementation, and the wider framework of rights and powers under a new Prime Minister.

We are pleased to be able to include a keynote session with Matt Parr, HM Inspector of Constabulary.

The conference is bringing together policymakers with local authorities, businesses, protest groups, emergency services, and other key stakeholders to consider the priorities for balancing protest rights with the disruption of services and infrastructure.

Delegates will discuss the place of protests in modern public life and examine proposals and legislation such as the Bill of Rights Bill and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act

Overall, sessions in the agenda focus on:

  • the UK’s legal framework - protesting and human rights
  • the place of protest in daily life - freedom of expression - the recently introduced Bill of Rights Bill - options for striking a balance between protest rights and public disruption
  • new powers, criminal offences and the Public Order Bill - examining specific powers and provisions in the Bill - clarity on definitions and criteria for compliance:
    • stop and search powers - new criminal offences for ‘locking on’
    • prevention orders
    • avoiding unintended breaches
    • introduction of new Serious Disruption Prevention Orders
  • responding to disruptive protest - criteria for intervention - priorities for police conduct and accountability
  • the future of protest tactics and response - police and protestor liaison - public and protestor safety - police planning and training - responding to hacktivism and new digital forms of protest 

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from the Home Office and DAERA, NI.

Keynote Speaker

Matt Parr

HM Inspector of Constabulary


Joanna Cherry QC MP

Chair, Joint Committee on Human Rights

Adam Wagner

Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers, Visiting Professor of Law, Goldsmiths University

Sir Jonathan Jones QC

Senior Consultant, Linklaters

Chantal Joris

Legal Officer, ARTICLE 19

Griff Ferris

Senior Legal and Policy Officer, Fair Trials

Professor Gavin Phillipson

Public Law and Human Rights, University of Bristol Law School