Breach of the Peace in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • R Joshua Moos and Hannah McClure v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 14 Abril 2011

    To be justified in law as being the lawful exercise of the common law power to take reasonable steps to prevent a breach of the peace and as not constituting an unlawful deprivation of liberty under Article 5 of the Convention, the police had reasonably to apprehend an imminent breach of the peace at the Climate Camp or, if not at the Climate Camp, so associated with the Climate Camp that containing the Climate Camp itself was reasonably necessary.

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

  • Foulkes v Chief Constable of the Merseyside Police
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 09 Junio 1998

    He had tried persuasion but the plaintiff refused to be persuaded or to accept the sensible guidance he had been given but in my judgment that was not a sufficient basis to conclude that a breach of the peace was about to occur or was imminent. There must, I consider, be a sufficiently real and present threat to the peace to justify the extreme step of depriving of his liberty a citizen who is not at the time acting unlawfully.

  • R v Howell (Errol)
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 13 Abril 1981

    We hold that there is power of arrest for breach of the peace where: (1) a breach of the peace is committed in the presence of the person making the arrest or (2) the arrestor reasonably believes that such a breach will be committed in the immediate future by the person arrested although he has not yet committed any breach or (3) where a breach has been committed and it is reasonably believed that a renewal of it is threatened.

    We are emboldened to say that there is a breach of the peace whenever harm is actually done or is likely to be done to a person or in his presence to his property or a person is in fear of being so harmed through an assault, an affray, a riot, unlawful assembly or other disturbance.

  • R (Laporte) v Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary
    • House of Lords
    • 13 Diciembre 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.

  • McConnell v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 06 Noviembre 1989

    Clearly a purely domestic dispute will rarely amount to a breach of the peace. But, in exceptional circumstances, it might very well do so. Whether those particular circumstances which come to pass on private premises are sufficient to support a reasonable apprehension that a breach of the peace was about to occur will depend upon the circumstances in which the preventive steps called for under the statute of 1361 are taken.

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Legislation
  • Public Order Act 1936
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1936
    ......prevent risk of a breach of the peace. (2) If at any time the chief officer of police is of. ......
  • Theatres Act 1968
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1968
    ......two years, or both. S-6 . Provocation of breach of peace by means of public performance of a play. 6 Provocation of ......
  • Public Houses Acts Amendment (Scotland) Act 1862
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1862
    ......  An Act to regulate the granting of Certificates by Justices of the Peace and Magistrates, authorizing Persons to keep Common Inns, Alehouses, and ... Forfeitures provided by the recited  Acts , or either of them, for Breaches of or Offences against the Terms, Provisions, and Conditions of ......
  • Licensing (Scotland) Act 1959
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1959
    ......justices of the peace for the county and one half county. councillors for the county. . (4) ...and one. . (3) If the holder of any certificate commits a breach of any. byelaw made under this section, he shall be deemed to be guilty. ......
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Books & Journal Articles
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • Update on preventing squatters in commercial premises (England and Wales)
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    With a large number of retail and restaurant premises closing temporarily due to COVID-19, there is an increased risk of squatters breaking into commercial premises. Unlike residential premises,...
    ...... mises and the police will not take any action unless there is a breach of the peace. Although tenants will retain liability for security during ......
  • Human Rights | Talking Tactics | When Is Kettling Justified Asks Richard Scorer
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...In brief. The need for imminence or immediacy of a threat to peace as a prerequisite for kettling. The state should not lightly infringe the ... Thus, on the face of it, the containment of demonstrators will be a breach of Art 5. Hence, court decisions have focused on the exceptional ......
  • Harassment, Violent Residents and Visitors: Protecting Staff
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... resists in the presence of the police officer, it constitutes a breach of the peace and the police officer would have a power of arrest. The ......
  • Secondary Liability In The Criminal Law
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... has a duty, if called upon, to assist a constable to prevent a breach of the peace: R v. Brown (1841) Car & H 314). As a matter of general ......
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Forms
  • Chapter DMBM657110
    • HMRC Guidance manuals
    • Formularios de Derecho Civil, Mercantil y Registral
    ...... the debtor (or someone else) is using if this is likely to cause a breach of the peace. You must provide the debtor with an inventory of the goods ......
  • Warrant of committal (of prisoner) (rule 81.30)
    • Court and tribunal forms
    Queen's Bench forms for use in cases such as personal injury, negligence and breach of contract.
    ......, his deputy or assistants, and all police constables and other peace" officers whom it may concern. \t\t\t. \t\t\t. \t\t\t\t . \t\t\t. \t\t\t. \t\t\t\t      \xC2"......
  • Warrant of committal (contempt in face of court) (rules 81.16 and 81.30)
    • Court and tribunal forms
    Queen's Bench forms for use in cases such as personal injury, negligence and breach of contract.
    ......, his deputy or assistants, and all police constables and other peace" officers whom it may concern. \t\t\t. \t\t\t. \t\t\t\t . \t\t\t. \t\t\t. \t\t\t\t      \xC2"......
  • Warrant of committal (general) (rule 81.30)
    • Court and tribunal forms
    Queen's Bench forms for use in cases such as personal injury, negligence and breach of contract.
    ......, his deputy or assistants, and all police constables and other peace" officers whom it may concern. \t\t\t. \t\t\t. \t\t\t\t . \t\t\t. \t\t\t. \t\t\t\t      \xC2"......
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