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Legal Clarification – Critical Mass Is Not Illegal

critical masser | 24.05.2007 13:47 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | London

On Monday the Court of Appeal gave their judgment in the Critical Mass case (Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis v. Des Kay). Cyclists will want to understand the practical implications of the judgment for this Friday’s Critical Mass.

. By two to one (and against the decision of two previous judges), the Court of Appeal rejected Des Kay’s argument that the monthly rides are ‘commonly or customarily held’ which would exempt them from the notification requirements of the Public Order Act 1986.

The result (subject to any reconsideration by the House of Lords) is that any organiser of Critical Mass is now required to notify the police at least 6 days before the event providing them with the date, route, and name of organiser.

If an organiser fails to do this, he or she will be liable to prosecution. It would be for the police to prove that a person was an organiser of Critical Mass. The case was brought because, in September 2005, the Police handed out leaflets at Critical Mass saying:

“These cycle protests are not lawful because no organiser has provided police with the necessary notification. Your participation in this event could render you liable to prosecution.”

Those statements were, and remain, incorrect. The Court of Appeal’s judgment does not mean either that the ride is unlawful or that those merely cycling in the ride are acting unlawfully.

Friends of the Earth Rights & Justice Centre

Lawyers for Des Kay

23 May 2007

critical masser


Further clarification

24.05.2007 15:05

1. It is illegal to organise Critical Mass, not to attend

2. Since there are no organisers, no-one can be done for this (of course the police could try to frame some people as being organisers - people who host websites, etc.)

3. However, since the court recognised CM was a procession, the police can impose conditions on it, such as a route. If the police do so, people taking part in CM and not following said route would be liable for prosecusion

4. BUT what constitutes CM is is not clearly defined. People can choose not to go to the "CM", and instead just cycle around town with their friends looking for a nice pub. (and the more friends you have, the better).



24.05.2007 22:37

personally i won't say it is illegal to organise CM, but ill advised to do so with they way things stand. plus with my understanding of CM it would take the nature of CM away!

also a section 12 would be almost impossible to inforce. people will be join and leaving CM all the time whom are not part of CM. therefore the police would risk being sued if they arrested a non CM`er.

keep the updates coming and good luck