Legal information

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The Land Camp and occupation is a peaceful, family-friendly protest action that isn’t intended to be disruptive to the surrounding community.

We do not expect heavy-handed policing of the protest, but we are prepared for a police presence and the camp will have a police liaison spokesperson. Police will not be allowed on site.

The following information is taken from the website of Green & Black Cross (GBC), an independent grassroots group who provide legal support for protests. For more info, visit greenandblackcross.org

Trespass

Trespass is a matter of civil law, which means that the police have no power to arrest you for it; police may nonetheless help landowners remove trespassers from land.

Trespass is entering – or putting property on land that belongs to someone else, without their permission. When protesters occupy a building or land, landowners can lawfully use reasonable force to remove trespassers in an emergency but risk committing an assault or breaching section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977, which makes it an offence to use violence to secure entry onto ‘premises’ (which includes buildings, land around it or a site with a number of buildings).

Section 6 explicitly says that “the fact that a person has any interest in or right to possession or occupation of any premises shall not… constitute lawful authority for the use or threat of violence.” Landowners, leaseholders or holders of a licence to use land or property are more likely to therefore apply to the civil courts for a ‘possession order’, which requires that the claimant is granted possession (exclusive physical control).

Stop and search

Before a search you must be told the name and station of the searching officer, the reason you are being searched, and what power you are being searched under. You do not have to give your name and address or answer questions under any stop and search power. You are entitled to a receipt of the search. Legal Observers are independent volunteers who gather evidence on behalf of anyone arrested and act to counter police intimidation.

If you are arrested

Say “NO COMMENT” to all questions from police, even during interviews and ‘casual chats’. Police often need more evidence and may try to deceive and pressure you into incriminating yourself. You have the right to free legal advice at the police station. Duty solicitors often give bad advice to protestors, GBC recommend Robert Lizars (Manchester) 0161 227 7777 (out of hours 07900 998 999).

You have the right to have someone informed of your arrest and an interpreter if English is not your first language. if you appear under 18 an appropriate adult should be called. if you witness an arrest or want support contact the Green & Black Cross Protest support Line: 07946 541 511