Public Order in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • R (Laporte) v Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary
    • House of Lords
    • 13 December 2006

    But, as O'Kelly v Harvey shows, where it is necessary in order to prevent a breach of the peace, at common law police officers can take action (in that case dispersing a meeting) which affects people who are not themselves going to be actively involved in the breach.

  • Cozens v Brutus
    • House of Lords
    • 19 June 1972

    The meaning of an ordinary word of the English language is not a question of law. If the context shows that a word is used in an unusual sense the Court will determine in other words what that unusual sense is. It is for the tribunal which decides the case to consider, not as law but as fact, whether in the whole circumstances the words of the statute do or do not as a matter of ordinary usage of the English language cover or apply to the facts which have been proved.

  • R v Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall, ex parte Central Electricity Generating Board
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 20 October 1981

    I think that the conduct of these people—their criminal obstruction—is itself a breach of the peace. There is a breach of the peace whenever a person who is lawfully carrying out his work is unlawfully and physically prevented by another from doing it. He is entitled by law peacefully to go on with his work on his lawful occasions. If anyone unlawfully and physically obstructs the worker—by lying down or chaining himself to a rig or the like—he is guilty of a breach of the peace.

  • Glamorgan County Council v Glasbrook Brothers
    • House of Lords
    • 19 December 1924

    No doubt there is an absolute and unconditional obligation binding the police authorities to take all steps which appear to them to be necessary for keeping the peace, for preventing crime, or for protecting property from criminal injury; and the public, who pay for this protection through the rates and taxes, cannot lawfully be called upon to make a further payment for that which is their right.

    Instances are the lending of constables on the occasions of large gatherings in and outside private premises, as on the occasions of weddings, athletic or boxing contests or race meetings, and the provision of constables at large railway stations.

  • Leeds United Football Club Ltd v Chief Constable of the West Yorkshire Police
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 07 March 2013

    Prima facie, in a public location the provision of police services in both situations is likely to be in discharge of the duty to maintain law and order. As I have explained at para 30 above, the position is likely to be different in private premises.

  • Yarl's Wood Immigration Ltd and Others v Bedfordshire Police Authority
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 23 October 2009

    To my mind, that provision makes it clear that, when compensation is claimed against the police authority, then it is entitled to take into account that the “person” claiming it was a public authority and had responsibility (whether sole or shared) for law and order in the public building or public institution where the riotous assembly occurred and which resulted in injury, destruction or damage to the building or property within it.

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