December 3rd, 2019 by James Goudie KC

Injunctions may be granted to restrict street protests in order to pursue the legitimate aims of preventing disorder and protecting others, as being lawful, necessary and proportionate in a democratic society, and not discriminatory. So held in Birmingham City Council v Afsar (2019) EWHC 3217 (QB), concerned with objections about aspects of teaching at a School, and the ways in which those objections were expressed. The Council relied on provisions of the Local Government Act 1972, especially Sections 111 and 222. Section 130 of the Highways Act 1980, Section 1 of the Localism Act 2011 (GPOC”) and Sections 1, 2 and 5 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, read consistently with Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the ECHR, and a “pressing social need” and Articles 8 and AZP1. There had been a concerted course of conduct, lasting many months, which amounted to harassment, which on occasion caused fear or alarm and frequently caused distress. The injunctions were necessary to protect the ECHR and other civil rights of the children, staff and neighbours of the School, and proportionate to that aim. Warby J said, at paragraph 114:-

“In a democratic society protest must be allowed, but that does not carry with it a right repeatedly to cause distress to primary school children by aggressive shouting through megaphones or microphones using amplification, or to inflict months of distress on teachers and local residents …”


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