Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998

Year1998


Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998

1998 Chapter 2

An Act to amend the law relating to public processions in Northern Ireland to provide for the establishment and functions of the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland and for connected purposes.

[16th February 1998]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

The Commission

The Commission

S-1 The Commission.

1 The Commission.

(1) There shall be established a body to be known as the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland (in this Act referred to as ‘the Commission’).

(2) Schedule 1 has effect in relation to the Commission.

S-2 Functions of the Commission.

2 Functions of the Commission.

(1) It shall be the duty of the Commission—

(a) to promote greater understanding by the general public of issues concerning public processions

(b) to promote and facilitate mediation as a means of resolving disputes concerning public processions

(c) to keep itself generally informed as to the conduct of public processions and protest meetings

(d) to keep under review, and make such recommendations as it thinks fit to the Secretary of State concerning, the operation of this Act.

(2) The Commission may in accordance with the following provisions of this Act—

(a) facilitate mediation between parties to particular disputes concerning proposed public processions and take such other steps as appear to the Commission to be appropriate for resolving such disputes

(b) issue determinations in respect of particular proposed public processions.

(3) For the purposes of its functions under this section, the Commission may, with the approval of the Secretary of State—

(a) provide financial or other assistance to any person or body on such terms and conditions as the Commission may determine

(b) commission research.

S-3 Code of Conduct.

3 Code of Conduct.

(1) The Commission shall issue a code (in this Act referred to as ‘the Code of Conduct’)—

(a) providing guidance to persons organising a public procession or protest meeting and

(b) regulating the conduct of persons organising or taking part in a public procession or protest meeting.

(2) The Commission—

(a) shall keep the Code of Conduct under review and

(b) may from time to time revise the whole or any part of the Code of Conduct and issue the revised Code of Conduct.

(3) Schedule 2 has effect in relation to the Code of Conduct.

S-4 Procedural rules.

4 Procedural rules.

(1) The Commission shall issue a set of rules (in this Act referred to as ‘the procedural rules’) for the purpose of regulating and prescribing the practice and procedure to be followed—

(a) by the Commission in exercising the functions mentioned in section 2(2) and

(b) by other persons or bodies in their dealings with the Commission in connection with the exercise of those functions.

(2) In particular (but without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1)) the procedural rules may—

(a) provide for the determination by the Commission of the particular cases in relation to which the functions mentioned in section 2(2) are to be exercised

(b) prescribe the manner in which, and the time within which, specified actions may or must be taken (whether by the Commission or by other persons or bodies) for the purposes of the exercise by the Commission of those functions

(c) require notice of specified determinations of the Commission made in the exercise of those functions to be published in such form and manner as may be specified.

(3) In subsection (2) ‘specified’ means specified in the procedural rules.

(4) The Commission—

(a) shall keep the procedural rules under review and

(b) may from time to time revise the whole or any part of the procedural rules and issue the revised procedural rules.

(5) Schedule 2 has effect in relation to the procedural rules.

S-5 Guidelines.

5 Guidelines.

(1) The Commission shall issue a set of guidelines (in this Act referred to as ‘the guidelines’) as to the exercise by the Commission of its functions under section 8.

(2) The Commission—

(a) shall keep the guidelines under review and

(b) may from time to time revise the whole or any part of the guidelines and issue the revised guidelines.

(3) Schedule 2 has effect in relation to the guidelines.

Advance notice of public processions and related protest meetings

Advance notice of public processions and related protest meetings

S-6 Advance notice of public processions.

6 Advance notice of public processions.

(1) A person proposing to organise a public procession shall give notice of that proposal in accordance with subsections (2) to (4) to a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary not below the rank of sergeant by leaving the notice with him at the police station nearest to the proposed starting place of that procession.

(2) Notice under this section shall be given—

(a) not less than 28 days before the date on which the procession is to be held or

(b) if that is not reasonably practicable, as soon as it is reasonably practicable to give such notice.

(3) Notice under this section shall—

(a) be given in writing in such form as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State and

(b) be signed by the person giving the notice.

(4) The form prescribed under subsection (3)(a) shall require a person giving notice under this section to specify—

(a) the date and time when the procession is to be held

(b) its route

(c) the number of persons likely to take part in it

(d) the names of any bands which are to take part in it

(e) the arrangements for its control being made by the person proposing to organise it

(f) the name and address of that person

(g) where the notice is given as mentioned in paragraph (b) of subsection (2), the reason why it was not reasonably practicable to give notice in accordance with paragraph (a) of that subsection and

(h) such other matters as appear to the Secretary of State to be necessary for, or appropriate for facilitating, the exercise by the Commission, the Secretary of State or members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary of any function in relation to the procession.

(5) This section does not apply where the procession is—

(a) a funeral procession or

(b) a procession of a class or description specified in an order made by the Secretary of State.

(6) The Chief Constable shall ensure that a copy of a notice given under this section is immediately sent to the Commission.

(7) A person who organises or takes part in a public procession—

(a) in respect of which the requirements of this section as to notice have not been satisfied or

(b) which is held on a date, at a time or along a route which differs from the date, time or route specified in relation to it in the notice given under this section,

shall be guilty of an offence.

(8) In proceedings for an offence under subsection (7) it is a defence for the accused to prove that he did not know of, and neither suspected nor had reason to suspect, the failure to satisfy the requirements of this section or (as the case may be) the difference of date, time or route.

(9) To the extent that an alleged offence under subsection (7) turns on a difference of date, time or route it is a defence for the accused to prove that the differenc e arose from—

(a) circumstances beyond his control

(b) something done in compliance with conditions imposed under section 8 or

(c) something done with the agreement of a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary not below the rank of inspector or by his direction.

(10) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (7) shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.

S-7 Advance notice of protest meetings related to public processions.

7 Advance notice of protest meetings related to public processions.

(1) Where notice has been given under section 6 in relation to a public procession, a person proposing to organise a related protest meeting shall give notice of that proposal in accordance with subsections (2) to (4) to a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary not below the rank of sergeant by leaving the notice with him at the police station nearest to the place at which the meeting is to be held.

(2) Notice under this section shall be given—

(a) not later than 14 days before the date on which the meeting is to be held or

(b) if that is not reasonably practicable, as soon as it is reasonably practicable to give such notice.

(3) Notice under this section shall—

(a) be given in writing in such form as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State and

(b) be signed by the person giving the notice.

(4) The form prescribed under subsection (3)(a) shall require a person giving notice under this...

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