New protest laws

  • Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Act 2022 (PCSC), also known as the Policing Act.
  • Public Order Act 2023

Two new laws have given the police more powers to control protests, and increase the punishments (including being sent to prison) that you might receive for taking part in certain protest actions. Some of these actions include having ‘noisy’ protests, or causing serious annoyance or inconvenience under public nuisance rules.

Getting your voice heard

We are concerned that the new protest laws are intended to make effective protest more difficult by restricting our rights to come together and express our views. By extending police powers, and increasing the penalties, the Government may stifle dissenting voices and discourage people, especially those who are vulnerable, from taking to the streets when a law or policy harms them.

We are also deeply concerned that these new laws are likely to disproportionately impact communities and groups that are already treated unfairly within the criminal justice system.

What next

Treated unfairly at a protest?
Have you been treated unfairly by the police at a protest because of who you are? For example, because you are disabled, Black, or because of where you come from?

Law for Life wants to hear from people who think they may have been discriminated against by the police at a protest. Please take our survey and let us know what happened to you.

On these pages, you will find helpful information to support you to use the power of protest. These resources are for you if you attend or are thinking about attending a protest and for organisations and collectives who want to organise a protest.

We are in touch with various national and local organisations and protest groups, including Liberty, Big Brother Watch, and Netpol. Together, we hope to understand the best ways to support the right to protest and challenge the new laws restricting our right to protest and our ability to protest effectively.

These pages are part of our national campaign to support protest rights and create clear and accessible public information for protestors about their rights.

The information provided applies only to England and Wales.

Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust

The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust has supported this work in recognition of the importance of the issue. The facts presented and the views expressed in this report are, however, those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Trust. 

Updated: November 2023