Climate of Injustice: What next for the law’s silencing of protest and dissent?

On 12 April at Queen Mary School of Law in London around 100 lawyers, legal academics and health workers gathered with climate activists who have faced serious criminal charges and sanctions, at a conference organised by Lawyers Are Responsible in partnership with the Centre for Climate Crime and Climate Justice at Queen Mary University of London.

The conference was addressed by Michael Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change, who condemned the ‘severe crackdowns’ on the right to peaceful protest in the UK. 

The conference took place in advance of two key cases which present vital questions for the relationship between law and protest: 

Trudi Warner, one of the speakers at the conference, on April 22 saw an attempt by the government’s most senior law officer to prosecute her for holding a placard on jury rights outside a climate trial dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

Dr Sarah Benn, another speaker, was, a few days after the conference, found guilty of professional misconduct by a GMC tribunal for holding a sign outside an oil refinery and thus breaching a private injunction. 

On the day, attendees heard on the ground experiences of how rights to protest in the UK are being eroded and how protesters’ defences are being restricted. It was a unique forum in which lawyers and legal academics heard from activists on their loss of freedoms and deliberated on next steps to challenge this rollback of rights.

Click here to see videos taken on the day

Breakdown of the Panels:

Click here for the full speaker bios for Panel 1

Click here for the full speaker bios for Panel 2

Click here for the full speaker bios for Panel 3

Click here for the full speaker bios for Panel 4