EVENT: Obstructing the right to protest v. the right to obstructive protest?


5:30pm-7pm, Tuesday 14th September

You are invited to a panel discussion addressing the recent important Supreme Court judgment in Director of Public Prosecutions v. Ziegler [2021] UKSC 23 and its implications for protest law and the criminalisation of protest.

The Supreme Court judgment makes clear that protests that are deliberately obstructive are not per se unlawful, even where their impact on others is more than minimal. It stands as an important reaffirmation of the right to protest in the face of attempts by the Government to curtail further this fundamental right, including through the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which passed its third reading in the House of Commons on 5 July.

The panel, chaired by Professor Conor Gearty QC, will comprise Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh and Raj Chada who represented the Appellants in Ziegler; Henrietta Cullinan, one of the Appellants in the case; Gracie Bradley, Interim Director of Liberty, and Lord Alf Dubs, a member of Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, whose recent report concludes that the restrictions on the right to protest in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill are inconsistent with human rights.

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Professor Conor Gearty QC (Hon) (Chair)

Conor is Professor of Human Rights Law at LSE and a founding member of Matrix Chambers. He has written many books and articles on the topics of civil liberties, terrorism and human rights. He is Vice-President for Social Sciences at the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Bencher of Middle Temple and the King’s Inn.

Gracie Bradley 

Gracie is the Interim Director of Liberty, having previously co-led the Policy and Campaigns team at the organisation, as well as advocacy relating to policing. She oversaw Liberty’s response to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill published in March 2021, prior to its second reading in the House of Commons.

Raj Chada

Raj is the Head of the Criminal Department at Hodge, Jones and Allen Solicitors (HJA). He specialises in protest cases, representing the Appellants in the Ziegler case as well as the in the recent successful appeal in Thacker and Others v. Regina (the Stansted 15 case). He represents protestors from numerous campaigns including Stop DESI, Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter.

Henrietta Cullinan

Henrietta is a peace activist, teacher and writer, and was one of the Appellants in Ziegler, prosecuted for her peaceful protest outside the DSEI Arms Fair in London in September 2017.

Lord Alfred Dubs

Lord Dubs is a member of the House of Lords, and of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which recently reviewed the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. He is a former Chair of Liberty and long-term campaigner for human rights.

Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh

Blinne is a barrister at Matrix, specialising in protest law across criminal, public law and civil proceedings. She acted for the Appellants in Ziegler and in the Stansted 15 case, and represents protesters and campaign groups in numerous other proceedings, including the Colston statue case and the Under Cover Policing Inquiry. Her protest law practice is informed by her extensive expertise in human rights and international law.