Appendix 1: Memorandum from the BUAV re: Serious
Organised Crime and Police Bill
Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill
(as it left the House of Commons on 8 February 2005) Criminalising
of economic pressure
Legal analysis by the BUAV
1. This briefing addresses the provisions in the
Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill ('the bill') which criminalise
in certain circumstances the exertion of economic pressure on
individuals and companies linked in some way to animal research
establishments. The new clauses are in Part V of the Bill (clauses
142-146). The new offences are introduced by clauses 142 and 143.
2. The bill also introduces other provisions aimed
at curbing the activities of certain anti-vivisection protesters.
We do not address those in this briefing.
3. We use the term 'intimidatory methods' to encompass
the use or threat of violence and other forms of intimidatory
or coercive behaviour used to achieve campaign objectives.
B. The BUAV
4. As our name suggests, the BUAV campaigns against
animal experiments. Our mission statement reads:
'The BUAV opposes animal experiments. We believe
animals are entitled to respect and compassion which animal experiments
The BUAV campaigns peacefully for effective, lasting
change by challenging attitudes and actions towards animals worldwide'.
5. The BUAV is a wholly law-abiding organisation.
We unequivocally deprecate the use of intimidation in furtherance
of the anti-vivisection cause. By intimidation we mean the use
or threat of violence, or other intimidatory methods of protest.
6. We are also unequivocally opposed to the violence
to animals which vivisection represents.
C. Executive Summary
7. The new provisions are unnecessary. They confuse
campaign tactics or objectives with campaign methods.
The criminal law should not be concerned only with the latter.
The mischief identified by the Government and others is the intimidatory
methods used by a small minority of anti-vivisection campaigners.
But the criminal law already outlaws such methods. There is no
need to extend its reach to cover campaigning tactics which do
not involve intimidatory methods. This is what the new provisions
8. The provisions represent a serious curtailment
on free speech and protest. We believe they may well breach Article
10 of the European Convention on Human Rights ('the convention').
9. By including 'an act amounting to a criminal offence'
within the definition of 'relevant act', the new provisions introduce
a nonsensical tautologyit will be a criminal offence to
commit a criminal offence. Worse, this will have the effect in
some circumstances of increasing penalties by the back door.
10. The criminalising of tortious acts is unwarranted
and will strike at the heart of campaigning which seeks to exert
economic pressure (as much campaigning inevitably does).
11. There is uncertainty about the scope of some
torts, and indeed about what constitutes a tort in the first place.
The new provisions fail to give any relevant definitions. It is
a fundamental principle of the criminal law, now underpinned by
the convention, that the criminal law should be clear and accessible,
so that citizens should know how to order their lives.
12. It is inherently unfair to create criminal offences
for particular types of protesters (anti-vivisectionists). This
may constitute unlawful discrimination under Article 14 of the
13. Unacceptable though their activities are, everyone
recognises that anti-vivisection protesters who use intimidatory
methods represent a very small minority of anti-vivisection protesters
14. There are already a whole array of tools at the
disposal of the authorities and those involved in the animal research
industry to give adequate protection from intimidatory methods.
The new provisions, draconian as they are, are likely to send
more protest underground and therefore have the opposite effect
to that desired.
D. Summary of the new offences
15. The new offences are not altogether easy to follow.
We therefore summarise our understanding of them:
(a) clause 142: interference with contractual
relationships so as to harm animal research organisations
16. This creates an offence where A:
with the intention of harming an animal
(i) does a relevant act-i.e. either
'an act amounting to a criminal offence' or 'a tortious act causing
B to suffer loss or damage of any description'
(ii) threatens that he or somebody else will do a
relevant act; and
either A's intention or the
likely effect of his act or threat is to cause B:
(I) not to perform any contractual obligation owed
by B to C (irrespective of whether non-performance
amounts to a breach of contract)
(ii) to terminate his contract with C
(iii) not to enter into a contract with C
17. A number of the terms are defined:
'harming an animal research organisation'
(i) causing it to suffer loss or damage or
(ii) preventing or hindering it from carrying out
any of its activities
'animal research organisation' is defined
in clause 145 to mean the owner, lessee or licensee of
premises designated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures)
Act 1986 ('the 1986 Act')
'contract' includes 'any other arrangement'.
Importantly, however, 'tortious act' is not
defined (see below).
18. The ingredients of the offence are therefore:
(i) the commission or threatening of a 'relevant act' (including
a tortious act); (ii) with the intention (or likely effect) of
causing B to rethink his actual or putative contractual relationship
with C (presumably an animal research organisation); (iii) all
with the overall intention of harming an animal research organisation.
19. Action wholly or mainly in contemplation or furtherance
of trade disputes is not caught.
20. The maximum penalty is 5 years' imprisonment
and/or an unlimited fine (clause 144). The Director of
Public Prosecutions must consent to a prosecution.
(b) clause 143: intimidation of persons connected
with animal research organisations
21. This creates an offence where A:
with the intention of causing B to abstain
from doing something B is entitled to do (or to do something
which B does not have to do)
(i) threatens B that A or someone else
will do a relevant act (defined as above); and
(ii) does so wholly or mainly because of B's
There then follows a long list of protected positions,
including employees of animal research organisations, students
at relevant establishments, people with a financial interest in
an animal research organisation, customers or suppliers and even
a 'spouse, civil partner, friend or relative of, or a person who
is known personally to' most of the other categories
22. The ingredients of the offence are therefore:
(i) a threat that someone will commit a relevant act (including
a tortious act); (ii) with the intention that a person of a specified
description will change his behaviour.
23. Trade disputes are again excluded.
24. The maximum penalty is again 5 years' imprisonment
and/or an unlimited fine (clause 144). As with clause 142,
the DPP must consent to a prosecution
(c) clause 146: extension of clauses 142 and 143
25. This enables the Home Secretary to extend clauses
142 and 143 to other areas, where there is a similar pattern of
protest activities as with animal experiments.
E. Analysis: features common to clauses 142 and
26. Clause 142 aims to protect relationships
between animal research organisations and their customers and
suppliers. It criminalises tortious acts which cause a customer/supplier
loss or damage. It covers both acts and threats.
27. Clause 143 aims to protect a long list
of people linked to animal research organisations (however tangentially)
from being pressurised by the threat of criminal or tortious acts
not to do something they are entitled to do or to do something
they do not have to do. The list includes customers and suppliers,
and there is therefore an overlap with clause 142. At present,
clause 143 covers only threats, although Ms Flint indicated in
the House of Commons that the Government would consider whether
this should be extended to acts.
If it does, it is difficult to see what remaining role there would
be for clause 142there are extra hurdles to completion
of the offence under that clause.
(b) 'relevant act' (clauses 142 and 143): criminal
28. In both clauses, 'relevant act'the thing
which is prohibitedincludes 'an act amounting to a criminal
offence'. This is nonsensicalthe clauses are saying that
it is an offence to commit a criminal offence, which is of course
29. However, there is an important practical effect.
The clauses carry a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, whereas
the offence under other legislation which constitutes the 'relevant
act' might well carry a less severe penalty (depending on the
nature of the act in question). The effect, therefore, would be
to increase a statutory maximum penalty by the back door in certain
circumstances. This is clearly unacceptable.
(c) 'relevant act' (clauses 142 and 143): tortious
i. what is a 'tort'?
30. A tort is a civil wrong. It does not normally
constitute a criminal offence; rather it entitles the wronged
party to sue the perpetrator for damages if he can show he has
Sometimes he can seek an injunction.
31. There are a great many torts in English law.
The main ones are:
negligence, as where, for example, a driver causes
an accident through his carelessness
nuisance (essentially this constitutes interference
with enjoyment by an owner of his property)
wrongful interference with another person's goods
the so-called economic torts (see below).
32. However, what constitutes a tort, and how they
should be classified, has long exercised academics. For example,
Halsbury's Laws of England ('Halsbury's') includes
breach of confidence as a tort, whereas most commentators do not.
If the Government persists with criminalising tortious actwhich
we do not believe it shouldit is essential that the bill
should define precisely what is meant by 'tortious act'. Otherwise,
a fundamental principle of English criminal law - that people
should know what is and is not permitted so that they can conduct
themselves accordinglywill be breached.
33. In any event, it is clear that 'tortious act'
covers a very wide range of activity. If Halsbury's is
correct about breach of confidence, the implications would
be particularly serious. Animal experiments are conducted under
conditions of very considerable secrecy.
Usually the only way to find out what is done to laboratory animals,
for what purpose and with what result is by conducting undercover
investigations, such as the one carried out by the BUAV into primate
neuroscience research at Cambridge University in 2001/2.
This necessarily involves breaches of confidence, unless the public
interest requires the information to be disclosed.
Investigators may now conceivably risk five years in prisonand
yet no one knows.
ii. economic torts
34. The economic torts are particularly relevant
in the present context, because the clauses are aimed at campaigning
designed to exert economic pressure. There are two main types
for present purposes:
inducing or procuring a party to a contract
to break the contract: the defendant must know of the contract
and intend that it should be breached. Importantly, however, he
need not intend that one of the parties should suffer loss or
damage as a result. Although simply advising someone to pull out
of a contract probably does not suffice, hindering the performance
of a contract does, even if that does not render the party concerned
in breach. Justification may be a defence but the circumstances
Clause 142(2)(a) and (b) are obviously relevant here.
there are two types: (i) where two or more persons agree to commit
an act which would be lawful if done by one person, the conspirators
intend to cause damage to the intended victim and such damage
is in fact caused; and (ii) where two or more persons agree to
commit some other tort and damage is in fact caused to the victim.
It will readily be seen that type (i), in particular,
will catch many campaigns against a target company. 'Damage' includes,
in particular, economic damage.
35. The BUAV has for a number of years sought to
persuade airlines not to transport primates destined for research
laboratories, with considerable success. No one has ever suggested
that this is anything other than a legitimate campaigning tactic.
Depending on the precise circumstances, campaigning of this sort
might in future constitute a serious criminal offence. So could
36. Broadly-speaking, a defamatory statement is an
untrue statement which causes damage to the reputation of the
victim in the eyes of right-thinking people. Libel is a statement
in permanent form (including broadcasts) and slander the spoken
word in other contexts
37. Importantly in the present context, the maker
of the statement need not intend to defame the victim.
38. Libel can be a criminal offence, if it is serious.
In the report stage debate, Ms Flint gave the example of protesters
publishing a leaflet falsely accusing a animal laboratory supplier
of being a paedophile.
That is clearly unacceptable. However, the important point is
that this is already criminal libel. The effect of the
new provision is, in some circumstances, to criminalise all
forms of defamationslander as well as libelhowever
minor and unintended. That has huge implications for free speech.
39. Trespass occurs when a person enters the property
of another person without consent.
40. Certain forms of trespassprincipally,
aggravated trespassare already criminal offences. The effect
of the new provisions will, in some circumstances, be to criminalise
all forms of trespass, however unintended, provided the landowner
is able to show some (perhaps minimal) loss or damage.
41. Nuisance can cover a multitude of situations
where the reasonable enjoyment by an owner of his property is
interfered with. An obvious example in the present context is
noisy demonstrations outside a company's premises.
vi. the criminalisation of tortious activity:
42. Clauses 142 and 143 will therefore criminalise
the commission of torts in certain circumstances. This is seriously
problematical for a number of reasons:
(i) torts are designed to give a person redress against
another when certain acts (or omission) by the latter cause him
loss. As such the state does not get involved and does not need
It is a major step to move tortious activity into the public (i.e.
criminal) arena and one which has generally been resisted. There
is no warrant for doing so in the present circumstances. The vice
which has been identified are intimidatory methods of protest.
These are already illegal.
(ii) as already mentioned, there is academic disagreement
about whether some unlawful activity is a tort (such as breach
of confidence)uncertainty is inimical to the criminal law;
(iii) also as already noted, there is uncertainty
about the precise scope of some torts;
(iv) some tortssuch as trespass and defamationrequire
no intention or even carelessness on the part of the wrongdoer.
Although the new provisions require the defendant to have an
intentionharming an animal research organisation under
clause 142 and persuading another person to act or not to act
as he chooses under clause 143there is no requirement that
the defendant must intend to commit a tortious act (even where
that is the type of 'relevant act').
43. Even MPs broadly in favour of the new provisions
expressed misgivings about their width via the use of tortious
The Liberal Democrats put down amendments which would have meant
that any 'loss or damage' had to be 'significant' but the Government
was unwilling to adopt this approach.
(d) human rights implications
44. Clauses 142 and 143 undoubtedly curtail free
speech. The Government would argue that it is necessary to do
so to protect those associated with animal research from intimidatory
methods. Paragraph (2) of Article 10 of the convention allows
derogation from the right to freedom of expression where it is
'necessary in a democratic society' for (inter alia) 'the
prevention of disorder or crime'.
45. However, the point is that intimidatory methods
are already against the criminal law. The Protection from
Harassment Act 1997 ('the 1997 Act') is often used to prosecute
46. In addition, one of the preconditions for reliance
on an Article 10(2) derogation is that it is 'prescribed by law',
which carries with it the requirement that the law is reasonably
clear. The uncertainty around the new offences, and in particular
the meaning of 'tortious act', means that the requirement is not
47. We deal below with the discriminatory aspect
of the new provisions.
F. Clause 142: other concerns
48. There are a number of other concerns about clause
(a) one of the identified 'steps' is for B not to
enter into a contract with C: it is particularly objectionable
that it should now in some circumstances be an offence to seek
to persuade a person not to enter into a contract with another
person, even though the means used are not otherwise illegal.
Although this would not be caught by the tort of inducing a breach
of contractthere has to be an existing contract for that
tort to applyit would be caught by the first type of conspiracy
if the intention was to cause harm to an animal research organisation.
(b) 'harm' (to an animal research organisation) is
defined in a very broad way and clearly includes economic harm.
It should be borne in mind that any campaign against a particular
company is liable to cause it economic harmindeed, that
is usually the point. In 1997 few years ago, Huntingdon Life Sciences
('HLS') unsuccessfully sought a permanent injunction against the
One of the orders it sought would have prevented us doing any
'harm' to them. Since the only harm that can be done to a corporate
entity is economic, this would in effect have prevented us from
campaigning against them at all. Fortunately, Mr Justice Eady
saw the dangers and recognised that HLS was attempting to:
'clamp down on the discussion of matters of public
interest or upon the rights of political protest and public demonstration
which was so much a part of our democratic tradition'.
'It was necessary, clearly, to distinguish in the
relief sought between that which might be necessary to prevent
violence and unlawful harassment, and that which would inevitably
stifle legitimate comment on matters of undoubted public interest.
That [HLS] singularly failed to do. It is manifest from the wide-ranging
terms of the injunction sought in the writ that [HLS], if they
had obtained it, would be preventing any discussion or communication
about the way they conducted their business at a very sensitive
It is a matter of very great concern that the Government
is now in effect doing the very thing which Mr Justice Eady warned
againstfailing to distinguish between violence and unlawful
harassment, on the one hand, and legitimate protest, on the other.
(c) it is thought that B is intended to refer to
customers and suppliers and C an animal research organisation.
However, it is arguable that B could equally refer to an animal
research organisation itself in a particular case. This is another
(d) as noted, 'contract' is defined as including
'any other arrangement': it is not clear what this means. There
was no explanation during the debate at report. Once again, criminal
offences need to be clear.
(e) the fact that it is sufficient, for an offence
to be committed, for a relevant act by A to be 'intended or likely'
to cause B to take any of the relevant steps necessarily means
that he need not intend that B should does so.
G. Clause 143: other concerns
49. At present, the offence is limited to threats
to commit a criminal offence or do a tortious act. As with new
clause 10, a threat amounting to a criminal offence adds nothing
to the existing law. It is not clear in practice precisely when
a threat would constitute a tortious act.
50. As already noted, Ms Flint indicated in debate
that they would consider whether the offence should be extended
to acts as well as threats. If it is, some of the hurdles the
prosecution would have to overcome under clause 142 would not
have to be overcome (for example, the intention of harming an
animal research organisation).
51. It should be perfectly acceptable in a democratic
society to seek to persuade a person to do or not do something
he has the right to do or not to do. That is the lifeblood of
campaigning. Of course, intimidatory methods should not be used,
but at the risk of repetition those are already against the law.
Once again, the Government is confusing tactics with methods.
H. Clause 146
52. The Government will argue that the existence
of this power to extend the new offences to other areas means
that it would not be in breach of Article 14 of the convention.
Article 14 says that, where one of the other rights in the convention
is engaged (here, principally the rights to free expression (Article
10), impart beliefs (Article 9) and peaceful assembly and association
(Article 11)), the law must not unfairly discriminate against
53. However, the fact remains that the anti-vivisection
campaigners are being singled out. There are two points here.
First, many other groups resort to direct action of one sort or
another (usually with economic targets)for example, pro-hunters,
Fathers4Justice, GM and other environmental groups and now Christian
Voice. Secondly, as we have sought to explain, the new provisions
will catch activity which has never been criminal. For those affected,
it is particularly galling that this should be on a discriminatory
54. In our view, Article 14, taken in particular
with Article 10, would be engaged. To put it at its lowest, it
is questionable whether the Government would be able to justify
the discrimination inherent in the new provisions, even given
the terms of clause 146.
I. The true scale of intimidatory anti-vivisection
55. Without in any way seeking to diminish the seriousness
of the conduct of some people, or the effect of their action on
victims, it is important to put the problem into proper perspective.
(a) governmental statements
56. On 20 May 2004, Caroline Flint MP, Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office said in a Parliamentary
'It is not possible from the information collected
centrally by the Home Office to identify whether a victim of crime
works in animal research. However, from regular discussions from
the police and industry, we are aware that one individual who
works in animal research was physically assaulted in 2001
It is thought that the incident to which she was
referring was the assault on Brian Cass, managing director at
Huntingdon Life Sciences ('HLS'). That assault was wholly unacceptable,
but the important point for present purposes is that it was an
57. Similarly, the Foreword by the Prime Minister
and the Home Secretary to Animal welfarehuman rights:
protecting people from animal rights extremists published
by the Home Office, the Attorney-General and the DTI in July 2004
refers to those behind 'an illegal campaign of intimidation and
violence and against individuals and firms' as 'a tiny minority
of animal rights extremists'. The body of the report similarly
refers to 'a tiny group of extremists [who] are using illegal
and violent methods to try to stop animal experiments'.
58. Paragraph 64 says:
'The new powers [given to police by recent legislation]
are being used effectively by police forces. From January to April
2004 there have been 24 arrests for breaches of Section 14 of
the Public Order Act 1986 and 11 arrests for the amended offence
of aggravated trespass in buildings. In total, in the first 6
months of 2004 there were 140 animal rights activists either arrested
or reported compared with only 34 over the same period in 2003.
Recent months have seen the conviction of 21 activists for a range
of offences including aggravated trespass, harassment, common
assault, assault on police and criminal damage. Other cases are
These figures do not give the impression of large
numbers of activists acting outside the law. Arrest is not, of
course, the same thing as guilt; nor is being reported. If the
new powers are being used effectively, why the need for new offences?
(b) statement by Jacqui Lait MP
59. In a House of Commons debate entitled Animal
rights extremists which she initiated on 7 July 2004, Jacqui
Lait, a Conservative MP, acknowledged that 'the vast majority
of people who take a strong stand against the use of animals behave
legally'. So they do.
(c) industry statements
60. Dr Mark Matfield, the then executive director
of the pro-vivisection Research Defence Society ('RDS'), said
three years ago:
'Some scientists do not speak out on animal experimentation
for fear of being targeted by extremists. The majority of the
scientific community has always been hesitant about speaking to
a public audience (and even more nervous about speaking to the
media) about the use of animals in research. In part, this reflects
a general lack of experience in communicating with these audiences.
However, the most prevalent reason for their hesitation
is fear of being targeted by animal rights extremists. Understandable
as this fear might be, it is misplaced. Very few researchers
have become the focus of animal rights campaigns. Fewer still
have ever been attacked. Leaving aside the one or two leading
spokespeople who have, over the years, become the bete noir of
the animal rights movement, it is difficult to think of any researchers
who have spoken publicly about animal research and subsequently
In June 2000, 110 leading UK scientists signed an
open letter to the Minister for Science calling on him to reduce
the unnecessary bureaucracy that was hindering animal research.
Some of the media interpreted this, wrongly, as a plea for scientists
to be allowed to do more animal experimentation or relax the animal
welfare standards. The names of all the signatories, and photographs
of some of them were published by the press. However, not one
of the signatories has been targeted by animal rights groups as
a result' (emphasis added).
61. Similarly, Dr Simon Festing, the then director
of the Association of Medical Research Charities (another pro-vivisection
lobby group) and the recently-appointed executive director of
the RDS, was quoted in the Sunday Herald on 19 September last
year as describing as 'absolute rubbish' the claim that if animal
researchers at Scottish universities talked about their work they
would be attacked by activists. He said:
'You will not attract the wrath of the animal rights
extremists if you speak out, if you are proud of your work'.
62. The BUAV firmly believes that some parts of the
research industry is 'talking up' the problem, because it wishes
to make legitimate protest more difficult. We will return
J. Existing powers
63. In judging the need for the new provisions, it
is, of course, necessary to consider what is already available.
These break down into (a) criminal legislation; and (b) civil
(a) criminal legislation
64. Animal welfarehuman rights: protecting
people from animal rights extremists published by the Home
Office, the Attorney-General and the DTI in July 2004 ('the Government
paper') lists all the additional offences and police powers it
has recently created with anti-vivisection protesters in mind.
We attach the relevant extract. It is a long list. The 1997 Act
is often used.
65. Anti-social behaviour orders are used against
protesters. Paragraph 66 of the Government paper notes that an
activist convicted of aggravated trespass had been made the subject
of an anti-social behaviour order 'which bans her from entering
Cambridgeshire or contacting anyone associated with the research
company [HLS] for 3 years'. We do not know the circumstances,
but the important point for present purposes is that the authorities
clearly do not lack strong, some would say draconian, powers.
(b) civil remedies
66. In recent years, a number of animal research
establishments and companies supplying them have obtained injunctions
against anti-vivisection protesters, usually under the 1997 Act.
Their terms are often extremely wide. The problem with the concept
of 'harassment' is that it covers acts which in themselves are
perfectly lawful. Recent injunctions could apply to law-abiding
organisations such as the BUAV because of the standard definition
of 'protester' now used.
67. There are serious civil liberties concerns about
these injunctions. However, the important point for present purposes
is that companies already have strong powers at their disposal.
Breach of an injunction is contempt of court, punishable as a
9 March 2005
Annex A to Animal welfare - human rights: protecting
people from animal rights extremists published by the Home
Office, the Attorney-General and the DTI in July 2004
EXISTING PROVISIONS WHICH CAN BE USED TO TACKLE
ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT BY ANIMAL RIGHTS EXTREMISTS
Malicious Communications Act 1988
Under this Act it is an offence to send communications
or other articles with intent to cause distress or anxiety. The
1988 Act was strengthened by section 43 of the Criminal Justice
and Police Act 2001 to cover all forms of communication such as
email, faxes and telephone calls.
Section 241 of Trade Union and Labour Relations
(Consolidation) Act 1992
Section 241 creates an offence where various activities
are carried out with a view to compelling another person to abstain
from doing or to do any act which that person has a legal right
to do or to abstain from doing. The behaviour must be "wrongful"
ie it must amount to a civil wrong such as nuisance, intimidation
or trespass. Relevant activities include using violence to or
intimidating the person concerned or his family; injuring his
property; and watching or besetting his house or place of business
or its approaches. The section is most obviously relevant in the
context of trade disputes. However, it is not limited in its terms
to such a dispute and one of the leading cases concerns a demonstration
outside an abortion clinic. That case (DPP v Fidler 1 WLR
91) may also illustrate the difficulties in prosecuting for the
offence in the context of pickets and demonstrations as it turned
on the difference between "compelling" and "persuading".
The defendants argued successfully that their actions were designed
to persuade, not to compel women not to have terminations. The
offence will also only be available where the protestors' action
is tortious. If the demonstration is entirely peaceful and does
not involve trespass or intimidation or amount to a public nuisance,
no offence under section 241 may be committed.
Protection from Harassment Act 1997
It is a criminal offence under section 2 of the Protection
from Harassment Act 1997 to pursue a course of conduct which amounts
to harassment of anotherharassment includes alarming or
causing a person distress and conduct includes speech. An intention
to cause harassment is not necessary, but it is necessary to show
that a reasonable person would think the behaviour amounted to
harassment. It is a defence to show that the course of conduct
was reasonable in the particular circumstances. It is an offence
under section 4 of the Act to pursue a course of conduct causing
another to fear that violence will be used against him.
The court may make a restraining order on conviction
for either offence and a victim of harassment may take civil proceedings
under section 3 of the Act for an injunction and damages for any
resulting anxiety or financial loss. The perceived limitations
of the powers are that they require a "course of conduct"
and an identified individual against whom civil proceedings may
be brought. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 was amended
by section 44 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 to clarify
that it is an offence for a group of people to collude with each
other to cause others harassment, alarm or distress, where each
one of the perpetrators only undertakes one action of harassment.
Breach of the Peace
The common law power to arrest to prevent a breach
of the peace may also be available.
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
The offence of aggravated trespass was created by
Section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994,
primarily to deal with the activities of hunt saboteurs.
A person commits an offence if he trespasses on land
and in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging
in on that land, does anything which is intended to intimidate
or deter persons from engaging in that activity, or obstructing
or disrupting that activity. The Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003
extended the offence of aggravated trespass to include buildings
with effect from 20th January 2004.It is a known tactic of protestors
to rush into a building with a view to intimidating, obstructing
or disrupting people from going about their lawful business. Animal
rights protestors use this tactic to disrupt the activities of
Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001
Section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act
2001 allows a police officer to give directions to any person
who is "outside or in the vicinity of" a home, providing
the police officer reasonably believes that the
purpose of the protestor's presence is to persuade somebody to
do something which they are not under any obligation to do, or
conversely, not to do something which they are entitled to do;
the police officer reasonably believes that the
presence of the person or people to whom he is giving the direction
amounts to harassment of the resident, or is likely to result
in harassment or to cause alarm or distress to the resident.
The direction may include any requirements the police
officer considers necessary to prevent the harassment of the resident
or the causing of alarm or distress to the resident. Failure to
comply with a direction is an offence and the police have a power
to arrest a person for the offence.
Section 45 established a "secure register"
for company directors. Since April 2002, any Company Director,
Company Secretary or partner in a limited liability partnership
who is at risk of intimidation and harassment may apply to the
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for a Confidentiality
Order that places details of their usual residential address on
a secure register.
Details of the home address of a Director granted
a Confidentiality Order, will not appear on the Public Register
of UK Directors, but may be accessed by authorised bodies, e.g.
police or regulatory authorities. Since the Secure
Register was established, over 3,000 persons have been granted
Terrorism Act 2000
The Terrorism Act 2000 was introduced to provide
permanent UK wide legislation and to cover all forms of terrorism
by widening the definition of terrorism in the Act. There are
a range of provisions in the Act which are designed to target
those who engage in serious violence, endanger life or create
a serious risk to the health and safety of the public for the
purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
Where people are acting together and as a result
of an agreement to commit a criminal offence this can be charged
as a criminal conspiracy to commit the offences.
Theft Acts 1968 and 1978
Ordering goods and services in the name of a third
party is covered by the offences of obtaining goods and services
by deception under the both the 1968 and 1978 Theft Acts.
Stop and search powers
Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act
1984 has been amended so that since 20th January 2004, the police
have the power to stop and search for articles that could be used
to commit criminal damage.
Section 146 of the powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing)
Since 1 January 2004, courts in England and Wales
have the power to ban persons convicted of any offence from driving.
This is a measure which could be used by the courts when sentencing
persons convicted of offences such as criminal damage, public
order or harassment etc.
67 HoC col. 1261 (7 February 2005) Back
In the debate in the House of Commons on 7 February, there was
some discussion as to whether 'an act amounting to a criminal
offence' was somehow different from 'a criminal act'. The Minister,
Caroline Flint MP, was unclear (col. 1261) Back
Sometimes, as with trespass, the wronged party need not have suffered
loss. However, he will then be entitled only to nominal damages.
The 'tortious act' contemplated by clauses 142 and 143 must cause
We believe, in fact, that Halsbury's is wrong Back
Under section 24 of the 1986 Act, it is an offence, punishable
with imprisonment for up to two years, for a minister or official
to disclose information given in confidence (as it usually is).
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 may open things up to some
extent but this remains untested at present. Back
Issues arising out of the regulation of the research by the Home
Office are currently the subject of an application for judicial
review by the BUAV. Back
Neither Cambridge nor its commercial backers has brought an action
against the BUAV for breach of confidence. Back
Some commentators also identify intimidation as an economic tort,
again with two types: (i) where a person threatens to do an illegal
act to compel another person to do something which causes him
loss; and (ii) where a person intimidates a person with the intention
of causing loss to a third party. In each case, the threatened
person must take the threat seriously. However, it is very likely
that such action would already by covered by the criminal law.
The leading cases are Lonrho Ltd and another v Shell Petroleum
Co Ltd and another  AC 173 (HL) and Lonrho plc v
Fayed and others  3 All ER 303 (HL) Back
See Gleaves v Deakin  AC 477 (HL) Back
Col. 1251 Back
Other than by facilitating resolution of the dispute Back
Such as Evan Harris MP (Liberal Democrat) (e.g. col 1251) Back
Huntingdon Life Sciences v Curtin and others (1997) (unreported) Back
Col. 1128 Back
para. 7 Back
Article entitled Justifying Animal Experimentation posted on the
'HMS Beagle' website on 18 January 2002 Back
By simply serving the injunction on us-the definition extends
to anyone to whom notice is given Back