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Amend the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 to prevent abuse by private companies

Comment 1st July 2010

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 had the admirable goal of protecting people from harassment and stalking. However, it has been used more often than not as a method of preventing legitimate protest against private companies.

It needs amending so that it cannot be used to prevent legitimate protest against businesses.

Why does this matter?

Using the grounds that protesting is a form of harassment, and using already illegal activity as another, the law firms working for these companies achieved an array of injunctions against legitimate and peaceful protest. For example, a company in Lancashire had an injunction set up for their site which disallowed protest anywhere within a certain area, which included several main roads, and every area surrounding the industrial estate that they were based on. They provided a single 'protest zone', which had to be 'booked' via the police, who could restrict numbers, and the method of protest. Not to mention that the 'zone' itself was well out of view of the general public and the business itself.

Combine that with the fact that the hearings for these injunctions never allowed the people they were served on any representation in court, it is a travesty of the legal system – if you're rich you can prevent people protesting against your business.

Using the grounds that protesting is a form of harassment, and using already illegal activity as another, the law firms working for these companies achieved an array of injunctions against legitimate and peaceful protest. For example, a company in Lancashire had an injunction set up for their site which disallowed protest anywhere within a certain area, which included several main roads, and every area surrounding the industrial estate that they were based on. They provided a single 'protest zone', which had to be 'booked' via the police, who could restrict numbers, and the method of protest. Not to mention that the 'zone' itself was well out of view of the general public and the business itself.

Combine that with the fact that the hearings for these injunctions never allowed the people they were served on any representation in court, it is a travesty of the legal system – if you're rich you can prevent people protesting against your business.

Using the grounds that protesting is a form of harassment, and using already illegal activity as another, the law firms working for these companies achieved an array of injunctions against legitimate and peaceful protest. For example, a company in Lancashire had an injunction set up for their site which disallowed protest anywhere within a certain area, which included several main roads, and every area surrounding the industrial estate that they were based on. They provided a single 'protest zone', which had to be 'booked' via the police, who could restrict numbers, and the method of protest. Not to mention that the 'zone' itself was well out of view of the general public and the business itself.

Combine that with the fact that the hearings for these injunctions never allowed the people they were served on any representation in court, it is a travesty of the legal system – if you're rich you can prevent people protesting against your business.

Using the grounds that protesting is a form of harassment, and using already illegal activity as another, the law firms working for these companies achieved an array of injunctions against legitimate and peaceful protest. For example, a company in Lancashire had an injunction set up for their site which disallowed protest anywhere within a certain area, which included several main roads, and every area surrounding the industrial estate that they were based on. They provided a single 'protest zone', which had to be 'booked' via the police, who could restrict numbers, and the method of protest. Not to mention that the 'zone' itself was well out of view of the general public and the business itself.

Combine that with the fact that the hearings for these injunctions never allowed the people they were served on any representation in court, it is a travesty of the legal system – if you're rich you can prevent people protesting against your business.

Using the grounds that protesting is a form of harassment, and using already illegal activity as another, the law firms working for these companies achieved an array of injunctions against legitimate and peaceful protest. For example, a company in Lancashire had an injunction set up for their site which disallowed protest anywhere within a certain area, which included several main roads, and every area surrounding the industrial estate that they were based on. They provided a single 'protest zone', which had to be 'booked' via the police, who could restrict numbers, and the method of protest. Not to mention that the 'zone' itself was well out of view of the general public and the business itself.

Combine that with the fact that the hearings for these injunctions never allowed the people they were served on any representation in court, it is a travesty of the legal system – if you're rich you can prevent people protesting against your business.

Using the grounds that protesting is a form of harassment, and using already illegal activity as another, the law firms working for these companies achieved an array of injunctions against legitimate and peaceful protest. For example, a company in Lancashire had an injunction set up for their site which disallowed protest anywhere within a certain area, which included several main roads, and every area surrounding the industrial estate that they were based on. They provided a single 'protest zone', which had to be 'booked' via the police, who could restrict numbers, and the method of protest. Not to mention that the 'zone' itself was well out of view of the general public and the business itself.

Combine that with the fact that the hearings for these injunctions never allowed the people they were served on any representation in court, it is a travesty of the legal system – if you're rich you can prevent people protesting against your business.


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