The Practical Guide to Law and Protests in the ACT is the product of over nine months of work and the dedication of a team of volunteer legal researchers. GreenLaw is proud to be presenting this practical guide, aimed at helping groups and individuals understand legal issues around organising and participating in non-violent direct actions.
Engaging in peaceful protests and non-violent direct actions is an important form of political expression, essential for a well-functioning democracy. Although GreenLaw is an environmental justice organisation, these guides can be used for the organisation of peaceful protests for any social justice cause. The Guide covers non-violent direct actions and peaceful protests only. It is intended that these guides will be used for actions that are peaceful and do not involve harm to people or property. Whilst freedom of political communication is essential to democracy, violence is not. These guides will thus use the language of either ‘peaceful protest’ of ‘non-violent direct actions (NVDAs)’ to highlight the scope of the guide. We hope that by enhancing individual and organisational understanding of relevant Australian and ACT law that this guide can ensure NVDAs are conducted as effectively and safely as possible.
How to use this guide
The information contained in the Guide is not legal advice. It focuses on the most likely outcomes of a peaceful protest. Although the guides provide a lot of useful information, it is no substitute for specific legal advice from a qualified lawyer that knows about your circumstances. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice if you are concerned about the NVDA you are organising or have been arrested. See Chapter 9 for more details on seeking legal advice in the ACT.
The Guide follows a potential chronological timeline of an NVDA, starting at planning the protest in Chapter 1, through to Chapter 8 outlining strategies to minimise risks of violence at NVDAs, and how a typical court hearing may run in Chapter 13. Guide chapters can be read in chronological order, or you can merely click through to the relevant chapter from the Contents Page. It is recommended that organisers read the entire guide.
The Guide was last reviewed for legal accuracy on the following date: September 2020. Any law reform or other changes after this date have not been captured in this Guide. Please contact GreenLaw via: [email protected], if you experience trouble with any hyperlinks throughout the Guide.
- Acknowledgement of Country 3
- Introduction 4
- Chapter 1: Planning a NVDA and notifying the authorities 6
- Chapter 2: Defamation 14
- Chapter 3: Potential offences on ACT and Commonwealth land 25
- Chapter 4: Potential penalties for offences on ACT and Commonwealth land 31
- Chapter 5: Police powers during a NVDA 35
- Chapter 6: The process of arrest and your rights 41
- Chapter 7: Being processed after arrest 45
- Chapter 8: Minimising risks relating to police as organisers of NVDAs 50
- Chapter 9: Legal support in the ACT 58
- Chapter 10: Your rights to privacy in police investigations 65
- Chapter 11: Surveillance by police and other organisations 72
- Chapter 12: Making a complaint about the police 74
- Chapter 13: The process of preliminary court hearings 82
- Chapter 14: Criminal records and their impact 90
- Chapter 15: Structure of the police in the ACT 94
- Chapter 16: Criminal Law and Children (those under 18 years) 101
- Chapter 17: Additional Resources 108
Practical Guide to Law and Protests in the Australian Capital Territory
- Australia - Australian Capital Territory
- Civil resistance
- Direct action - Non violent NVDA
- Legal rights
- Protests_Rallies - Law and legislation
- Protests_Rallies - Law and legislation - Australia - Australian Capital Territory ACT