Many of the organisations TrustLaw supports engage in campaigning activities, community engagement and advocacy, with the aim of highlighting and solving social problems and encouraging systemic change. The closing space for civil society means that campaigners are under increasing pressure to run campaigns for social change that are not only politically effective but are also run in compliance with the law. Campaigners do not always have the time or expertise to analyse and understand a complex and evolving legal landscape and, as a result, may unwittingly break the law, restrict their activities unnecessarily through defensive decision making, or be discouraged from engaging at all.
In collaboration with Bates Wells and Campaign Bootcamp, TrustLaw’s goal is to support the development of a resilient and informed campaigning community by publishing this series of legal guides for campaigning and advocacy organisations in the United Kingdom. These guides offer campaigners advice and tips on how to comply with the laws that apply to their day-to-day activities. They aim to arm campaigners with the legal information needed to navigate issues including: political activities, election and lobbying laws; defamation and campaigns that target companies; hacktivism and shareholder activism; the right to protest and laws relating to marches, assemblies and police powers; using social media and online campaigns; data protection and direct marketing.
This guide on the Right to Protest offers guidance on the legality of protest, the limits on freedom of expression and freedom of thought and assembly, and an overview of the main restrictions that may be imposed on peaceful protests.