Protest Rights

‘The team offers considerable expertise in matters involving vulnerable defendants and criminal proceedings arising from protests and demonstrations.’

– Chambers and Partners, 2023.

We are currently recruiting protest law barristers. Find out more.

Garden Court North Chambers’ team of protest rights barristers is highly regarded amongst practitioners and protest groups alike.

We are considered as one of the leading sets in the country, and one of the only dedicated protest rights teams outside of London dealing with contemporary protest issues. We offer full advice and representation to protestors in both criminal and civil litigation matters. We work in both the Magistrates and Crown Court and we have acted in some of the most important protest cases in recent years.

The team’s expertise across the whole spectrum of protest law and associated civil proceedings, including:

  • Actions against the police
  • Aggravated trespass
  • Breach of the peace
  • Criminal damage, low and high value
  • Public order offences
  • Obstruction of the highway
  • Harassment and intimidation.

Recent instructions

The team have been involved in cases relating to protests against arms exports, fossil fuel companies and freedom of expression prosecutions against campaigners. The team are adept at having cases dismissed at an early stage due to deficiencies and discrepancies in the prosecution evidence.

The protest rights team have also undertaken countless civil claims, and opposed civil injunctions designed to interfere with campaigners’ constitutional and human rights to protest and assemble.

Members of Garden Court North are also instructed in the ongoing Undercover Policing Inquiry, which is looking into the covert infiltration of mainly left-wing activist groups over the past 50 years.

Members of the team have opposed the death penalty internationally, including in the US and the Middle East, and have been involved with protest and freedom of expression cases in Turkey, Bahrain, and Kuwait.

Our member Anna Morris KC co-authored The Protest Handbook and several members have supported campaigns affecting changes in legislation and improvements for marginalised groups.

A history of representing protesters

The importance of protest and supporting those exercising their freedom of expression is rooted in Garden Court North’s core principles and values. From its inception, our criminal law team has always been a leading force in defending in protest and community self-defence cases, and that remains a central focus.

Ian Macdonald QC, our first head of chambers was not only the author and editor of the leading textbook on immigration law, but also defended in many notorious cases where black and brown communities had come under attack, either from the state or right-wing extremists. These included the Mangrove Nine trial in 1970, the Bradford 12 case in 1981, and the so-called Burnley riot trial in the noughties.

Our second head of chambers, Mark George KC, cut his forensic teeth defending anti-Nazi protestors criminalised for opposing the National Front in the 1970s, and he and many other Garden Court North barristers since have continued that tradition, defending animal rights and environmental protestors, hunt saboteurs, anti-fracking activists, road protestors, pro-Palestine campaigners, anti-austerity, and disabled rights protestors.

A principle that runs through all of our work is providing advice in clear and understandable language. This approach ensures that our clients remain fully involved in the process throughout and are able to make informed decisions about their case. We recognise that protestors risk a significant amount in the pursuit of their aims. Our support to protestors thus extends beyond legal representation.

Contact the Practice Management Team here.

We are currently recruiting protest rights barristers. Find out more here.

Sign up to our mailing list

Our mailing list is dedicated to professionals with an interest in our work.

Sign up