The Change in Judicial Practice in Cases Concerning Civil Disobedience Protests and its Constitutional Significance

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-950
Journal / PublicationModern Law Review
Issue number4
Online published26 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


Since the enactment of the Human Rights Act, the law concerning civil disobedience has changed dramatically. Originally sceptical about this form of protest activity, the UK courts now recognise the value of civil disobedience and the need for its protection on the grounds of free expression and assembly. Yet, as lawbreaking plays a crucial part in civil disobedience, the shift in judicial attitude may also affect how we view civil disobedience as a constitutional practice. This article reviews the change in direction in the development of case law on civil disobedience and discusses its constitutional significance. It argues that a more tolerant approach to civil disobedience will strengthen constitutional democracy. © 2022 The Author. The Modern Law Review © 2022 The Modern Law Review Limited.