Protesting in a time of cuts: a clampdown on civil liberties?

Event Date: 19 June 2012
 Room B34
Birkbeck Main Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX

Law on Trial 2012: 18 June – 22 June 2012


Are effective justice and the fairness of the criminal process always in tension? This year’s Law on Trial will address this question, which has been brought into sharp focus by events such as G20 protests, and the riots of August 2011. Sessions will consider tactics used in the policing of protest, including ‘kettling’, two sessions on the riots in the UK and gang culture, and the use of stop and search and anti-terrorism powers. We shall also examine punitive responses to HIV and AIDS.

Law on Trial provides a platform on which academics, trade unionists, practitioners and activists can present alternative and progressive thinking about law, the criminal justice system and its relationship to society and economy.


Protesting in a time of cuts: a clampdown on civil liberties?

As the Government implements its ‘austerity measures’ and cuts continue to bite, more people than ever are taking to the streets to voice their discontent. This rise in popular protest has seen a simultaneous increase in coercive policing tactics. The State is seeking to justify this in the context of the 2011 summer riots, and alleged violent protest during student demonstrations against fees. This discussion will seek to explore the validity of those arguments, and consider how the State may respond to two major public order events on the horizon, namely the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games, focusing on recent developments in the law and the rights of protesters.

Birkbeck  Speaker:  Professor Bill Bowring, International Secretary of the Haldane Society

Guest Speakers: Kat Craig is Vice-Chair of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, and a solicitor in the Actions against the Police and Public Law departments at Christian Khan Solicitors. She represented Lois Austin in Austin v UK, the test case on kettling protesters and is co-author of ‘The Protest Handbook‘, published by Bloomsbury Press.

Owen Greenhall is an Executive Committee member of the Haldane Society, a pupil barrister at Garden Court Chambers, and former member of the Climate Camp legal team. He has a strong interest and experience in protesters’ rights, including both civil and public law challenges to the policing of demonstrations. He is the author of the chapter on occupations in ‘The Protest Handbook‘.

Introduction by Professor Bill Bowring (Birkbeck)


Kat Craig (Christian Khan Solicitors)


Owen Greenhall (Garden Court Chambers)



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