UK citizens have the right to peaceful assembly, which is enshrined in Article 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
However, the media is full of stories of how protesters and demonstrators have their human rights breached by excessive use of force by police officers – including practices such as kettling.
When marches, protests and demonstrators are policed in a heavy-handed manner, the knock-on effect can be violence. This is also true if peaceful assembly is disrupted by outsiders intent on causing trouble.
The police, however, still have to follow procedures and maintain control, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Where people who have gathered for a peaceful protest get hurt, either through no fault of their own or as a result of police officers using excessive force or failing to control a situation, it may be possible to make a claim for compensation. This might include claims for injuries sustained and for breaches of human rights.
Personal injury claims usually have to be made within three years of the injury or diagnosis of injury – compensation claims involving breaches under the Human Rights Act have to be made within one year of an incident.
With police claims, it is advisable to prepare a claim as soon as possible after injury or the event, to ensure that evidence such as medical records and mobile phone footage, CCTV images or witness statements are available – and that the details of the incident are still clear.
Duncan Lewis may be able to secure legal aid, or to offer a no win no fee arrangement for advising on police complaints and claims – with competitively priced rates for privately funding a claim or After the Event (ATE) insurance, if either legal aid is unavailable or where a no win no fee basis is not possible.
For expert legal advice on Actions Against the Police and Protest, call Duncan Lewis Action Against Public Authorities Solicitors in confidence on 0333 772 0409.