free beagles logo here
 


CASE LAW

1. Introduction
2. Breach of the Peace
3. Harassment
4. Obstruction of the Highway
5. Aggravated Trespass

1. Introduction

In Britain we have what is known as a “common law” legal system. Decisions made by higher courts are binding on the courts below them in accordance with the system of “judicial precedent”. In civil and criminal proceedings, the role of the judge or magistrate is to apply the law to the facts in any particular case. However this is not always easy as legislation is often ambiguous and open to different interpretations. In such cases it is the job of the higher courts to decide how legislation is to be interpreted. Their decision is then binding on all future cases, where the facts are sufficiently similar.

For example, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 prohibits a course of conduct which causes harassment, alarm or distress. But it was unclear from the wording of the act, whether or not it could also be used to protect companies from harassment. In a case before the High Court it was decided that companies could not be protected, as this was not the intention of Parliament when passing the legislation. This decision is now binding on all the courts below.

There are also some criminal offences which are known only as “common law” offences. These are offences which have been developed entirely by the courts over the years, and for which there is no actual legislation. Examples of common law offences are murder, perverting the course of justice and causing a public nuisance and causing a breach of the peace.

The House of Lords is the highest court in the land and its decisions on both civil and criminal cases are binding on all other domestic courts. Next down are the civil and criminal divisions of the Court of Appeal, which is bound by the House of Lords, but binds all courts below. Then there are the civil and criminal divisions of the High Court. Its decisions only bind the Crown and magistrates courts. The lowest courts - the Crown and magistrates court for criminal and the County Court for civil cases– cannot bind any other court.

The cases listed below are divided up in to the different areas of law affecting activists and listed chronologically, starting with the oldest first. For each case listed we have included a summary, the full text (where available) and an explanation of what the case means and how it may affect activists.

 

2.Breach of the Peace

Thomas v Sawkins (1935)
Full text, summary, explanation

Albert v Lavin (1982)
Full text, summary, explanation

R v Howell (1982)
Full text, summary, explanation

DPP v Orum (1988)
Full text, summary, explanation

McConnell v Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police (1990)
Full text, summary, explanation

McLeod v Metropolitan Police Commissioner (1994)
Full text, summary, explanation

Percy v DPP (1995)
Full text, summary, explanation

Foulkes v Chief Constable of the Merseyside Police (1998)
Full tex,t, summary, explanation

Porter v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (1999)
Full text, summary, explanation

Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions (1999)
Full text, summary, explanation

Bibby v Chief Constable of Essex Police ( 2000)
Full text, summary, explanation

Maguire v Chief Constable of Cumbria Constabulary (2001)
Full text, summary, explanation

McQuade v Chief Constable of Humberside Police (2001)
Full text, summary, explanation

McGrogan v Chief Constable of Cleveland Police (2002)
Full text, summary, explanation

Williamson v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police (2003)
Full text, summary, explanation

R (on the application of Laporte) v Chief Constable of the
Gloucestershire Constabulary
Full text, summary, explanation

3.Harassment

Huntingdon Life Sciences v Curtin (1) (1997)
Full text, summary, explanation

Huntingdon Life Sciences v Curtin (2) (1997)
Full text, summary, explanation

R v DPP ex parte Moseley (1999)
Full text, summary, explanation

R v Mann (2000)
Full text, summary, explanation

Lau v DPP (2000)
Full text, summary, explanation

King v DPP (2000)
Full text, summary, explanation

Tuppen v Microsft Corporation Ltd (2000)
Full text, summary, explanation

DPP v Dunn (2000)
Full text, summary, explanation

R v DPP (2001)
Full text, summary, explanation

R v Hills (2001)
Full text, summary, explanation

Bishop v Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court (2001)
Full text, summary, explanation

DPP v Ramsdale (2001)
Full text, summary, explanation

Pratt v DPP ( 2001)
Full text, summary, explanation

Caurti v DPP (2001)
Full text, summary, explanation

Thomas v News Group Newpapers Ltd (2001)
Full text, summary, explanation

Kelly v DPP(2002)
Full text, summary, explanation

DPP v Dziurzynski (2002)
Full text, summary, explanation

Huntingdon Life Sciences v Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (1) (2003)
Full text, summary, explanation

Daiichi UK Ltd v Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (2003)
Full text, summary, explanation

Huntingdon Life Sciences v Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (2) (2004)
Full text, summary, explanation

4.Obstruction of the Highway

Nagy v Weston (1965)
Full text, summary, explanation

Hirst and Agu v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire (1987)
Full text, summary, explanation

Kent County Council v Curtis (1998)
Full text, summary, explanation

DPP v Jones (1999)
Full text, summary, explanation

Westminster City Council v Haw (2002)
Full text, summary, explanation

5.Aggravated Trespass

Winder v DPP (1996)
Full text, summary, explanation

Hibberd v DPP (1996)
Full text, summary, explanation

Nelder and others v DPP (1998)
Full text, summary, explanation

Tilly v DPP (2001)
Full text, summary, explanation

DPP v Bayer (2003)
Full text, summary, explanation

 


This article is for information purposes only; its aim is to let people to know their full rights under UK law. Nothing on these pages is absolute as the law is always changing; if in doubt contact a trusted solicitor for further advice. We do not encourage you to break the law.

Please feel free to copy and distribute these articles to fellow activists, but do not alter the text in any way. These articles are anti-copyright for non-commercial purposes. Please visit www.freebeagles.org for the latest version of our articles and to learn about the freeBEAGLES Ethical Open Document License under which this document is distributed.

If you see any errors, or we have missed any changes to the legal situation please contact us as soon as possible, at info@freebeagles.org, as wrong information can prove costly to people's freedom.

© Copyright freeB.E.A.G.L.E.S.; last updated: July 2004