Legal briefing

As a mutually supporting network we are all responsible for ourselves, and while we support each other as best we can, your actions are your own. It's important to prepare yourself for all eventualities before attending an action (it isn't possible to predict whether you will be arrested or not). Remember, this guide is an overview intended to bring things to your attention, and is to be seen as a gateway to further reading. Links are listed at the bottom of each section.

XR legal strategy

The legal strategy documents aim to provide you with an overview of how we can turn the criminal justice process (from arrest to prosecution) into an opportunity to advance our strategic objectives - in particular by raising public and political awareness of the climate emergency.  While we also refer to some of the risks of action, this document is not a substitute for legal advice. Even if you choose to represent yourself at the trial, if you're arrested and charged it's always a good idea to take advantage of XR’s Access to Justice scheme which provides for a free meeting with a protest-experienced lawyer.

Please click here to read about XR's Legal Strategy

Personal preparation for an action day

We hope that taking action will be a very empowering experience. If you are part of an XR group then there will be group preparation. This document is aimed at each XR Rebel. Part of being empowered is making informed decisions and so below we talk about some stuff that may be new to you, or if you’re experienced it may be good to get a refresher.

If there is only one link you click through on make it this one, GBC’s ‘Key Advice when Going on a Protest’:

Click to see the 5 Key Messages:

Brief definitions:

Click here to view some basic and brief definitions of some legal terms

Frequently used laws at protests / common charges:

Click here to read more about the most frequently used laws at protests

Being arrested

Click here to find out what happens when you get arrested

Having a record

Is it okay if you get a record that shows up in these places? 

  • In DBS checks (normally employment related)

  • When applying to stay in this country  

  • When applying to travel in some countries abroad

  • Insurance applications and renewals

The record won’t necessarily cause a problem, but reading more about records is highly recommended.


Click here if you want to find out about how arrests can affect employment

DBS checks and being arrested on protests

Click here if you want to find out about how arrests can affect DBS Checks

Insecure immigration status/applications to stay in the UK/Citizenship

Click here if you want to find out about how arrests can affect DBS Checks

Getting arrested and travelling abroad

Even just being arrested can have an impact for travel to some countries. 

You can read more here.


Click here to see how arrests can affect insurance

Mental health

Click here to learn more about having mental health issues in custody

Being under 18, having learning difficulties or mental health issues (even if you do not have a formal diagnosis)

Click here to read more about this

Multiple arrests - Is it different if I’ve already been arrested, charged or convicted?

Click here to read more about multiple arrests

Financial implications

Click here to see different financial implications of arrest

Should you speak to the media?

Click here to read more about speaking to the media

Some more useful links:

An activists’ personal research

Further reading