Frequently Used Laws at a Protest

Here is a list of frequently used laws at a protest. Please note:

  • The frequently used laws will be different depending on which action you’re taking part in, read them and think about which ones might apply to your site/action.

  • The police sometimes arrest people for offences that they aren’t committing, and so it’s worth being aware of the breadth of the charges.

  • You can be arrested for one thing and charged with something different. You can be charged for something and then charged for something different/in addition.

  • The charges vary in their severity, where possible we have tried to give typical sentences for ‘first time offenders’. For a summary of maximum sentences

1) Obstruction of the Highway

2) Conditions Placed on a Protest

3) Trespass and Aggravated Trespass

4) Criminal Damage and Theft

5) Breach of the Peace

6) Public Nuisance

7) Obstruction of a Police Officer & Assault PC

8) Violent Disorder


NB: This is not an exhaustive list and only takes into account protest related law. There are other charges that are bought against protestors that are rare, hard to predict and can have lengthier trials, heavier sentences and higher costs. Examples would be charges in other areas of the law such as terrorism or aviation. If you have specific questions about future planned actions, please email hypothetical questions to, at least (where possible) two weeks prior to action day. The reason we ask for them to be hypothetical is to reduce the chance that people answering them could be considered complicit.