AUL/YURT Legal Stuff

From KnowledgeLab
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Relevant University Regulations

I am referring to the Substantive Rules of Lancaster University.

I identified 5 issues, which we have to take care of:

"2.1 Any action which impedes the learning, teaching or research of others; or which obstructs a person in the proper discharge of his duties in or for the University; or which causes unreasonable disturbance on the University premises. Obstruction includes failure to identify oneself when required to do so by the Head of Security (or Deputy), University Dean, or Deputy Dean, Safety and Radiation Protection Officers, a College Officer, Porter or Security Officer, who is enquiring into a prima facie breach of rule which falls within that officer's area of competence and who has made known his identity, office and purpose."

as far as i understand this, it means: IF somebody of the named people comes AND states that s/he is "enquiring into a prima facie breach of rule which falls within" her or his "area of competence" AND who "has made known his identity, office and purpose" (i suspect it is also valid for women) AND you are asked to identify yourself THEN you have to identify yourself.

Of course, our action is no "unreasonable disturbance" since we are students, engaging in an education and learning activity. Also, we do not create problems to anybody to fulfill their job requirements.

"2.10 Any action which prevents or impedes the freedom of speech or communication within the law and within these Rules, of another member of the University, or of any other person when on the University premises.

we should let people talk to us.

"2.22 Any intentional or reckless breach of the procedures or other requirements laid down in the University's Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech. (See Appendix D for current regulations)."

The Appendix actually does not apply on our action. It applies on "meetings" with hierarchical structures.

"2.11 Any action on or off University premises or when undertaking University business, which endangers the health or safety of another person."

We have to take care, of course, not to hurt anybody.

"2.12 The wilful damaging of buildings or property by members of the University, causing loss or damage to the University or its members by culpable acts or omissions." and we should not destroy something...

UK Legal Stuff

No legal awareness should actually be necessary. However, the following information has been requested, and so...

for the official activist guide to the law, see the freebeagles page, <> is the relevant section about ID and arrest. Read this first. Basically, you NEVER have to give your date of birth, and ONLY have to give name and address when arrested, or if stopped as the driver of a car with relevant suspicion, or if the officer wants to serve you with a summons for a 'non-arrestable offence'. Here is the relevant section about the latter situation, which doesn't mention the recent anti-terrorism provisions, but then they're not going to be used, are they?: "

2. Summons for Non-Arrestable Offences - Section 25 PACE

The main situation where you have to give your name and address to the police is when they want to give you a summons for a non-arrestable offence (see our legal handbook for more details on this). This is when they do not have the powers to arrest you and take you down to the police station to be formally charged.

Section 25 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) states that the police can arrest you where they reasonably suspect that you have committed a non-arrestable offence, and serving you with a summons is inappropriate because they cannot establish your name and address or - in short - because they reasonably suspect that the details you have given are false.

You have two choices in this situation: either provide your details to the officer there and then, or refuse. How you play it depends on the circumstances. If you refuse to give your details you can be arrested and taken to a police station, but be aware that the police may well be bluffing simply to get your details. If you know the law, you will have some idea whether the police do reasonably suspect you or if they are just fishing for information. If they say they suspect you of an offence, you should ask them to state what the offence is - this will make it easier for you to decide if they "reasonably suspect" you of the offence or not. If you are arrested under Section 25 PACE, the police must release you as soon as they have established your name and address.

If you do decide to give the police your name and address, they may still arrest you if they reasonably believe that the details you have given are not true. This is where they may ask you for some form of identification. There is no obligation to provide the police with ID, and the police can make various checks to establish this - see next section.

3. Proof of Identity

Regardless of what the police may say, it is currently not 'illegal' not to carry ID, though the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, is trying to change this under the spurious guise of preventing terrorism. This is a blatant infringement of your privacy, rights and only leads down the road to a fascist state. This is one situation where we really do encourage you to write to your MP and the Home Office voicing your objection to these plans. (For more information on campaigns against compulsory ID cards see <> and <> )

If you do provide details to the police, they may question their accuracy and demand proof. If the police have demanded your details under Section 25 PACE and they have 'reasonable suspicion' that the details you have provided are not correct, then they have the power to arrest you in order to establish your name and address. What amounts to 'reasonable suspicion' is unclear but any arrest must be justified and if the police cannot demonstrate "reasonable suspicion", you could sue them afterwards for false imprisonment.

The police are often bluffing in these situations, and it's quite rare for them to arrest you even if you have no means to confirm your identity, unless they have genuine reason to believe that you are lying. It is not uncommon for the police to arrest you initially but then release you down the road when they realise you have called their bluff.

Even if you have no ID on you, the police can often establish your details by checking the electoral register or the Police National Computer. Nowadays they can check the Motor Insurance Database that gives them the name and address of the keeper of the vehicle. If your name comes up on one of these checks, then it will be hard for them to say that they reasonably believe the details you have given are false even if you cannot produce any ID.

Another method they sometimes use is to ask for the phone number of someone who can confirm your name and address. If you have no ID on you and you think you're going to be arrested, you can offer the phone number say of your solicitor who will confirm your identity. If the police refuse to phone them, it will be hard for them to argue later that they "reasonably suspected" that the details you gave were false, as a reasonable police officer would of course attempt to phone the solicitor.

Don't forget that although the police usually ask you for your address, Section 25 PACE states that they can only arrest you where they reasonably suspect that the address you provide is not satisfactory for the service of a summons. So if you give the phone number and address of a friend or solicitor who can confirm that they will receive a summons for you on your behalf, then the police cannot then say that they have reason to doubt that the address is satisfactory. Obviously this is something you would need to arrange in advance, but it's worth remembering if you'd rather not give your residential address to the police.

So in conclusion, stand up for yourself, and don't be bullied into giving details unnecessarily. When it comes to activism and activists, the police will arrest whenever they can. Thus, when all they do is demanding proof of ID, there is a very good chance that they are bluffing and that the real purpose of this is intelligence gathering.

Note: A police officer should be in uniform with a rank number, or if in plain clothes show a warrant card before they can start making demands.

4. Section 50 Police Reform Act 2002

A recent development in police attempts to gain activist's details is the use of Section 50 of the Police Reform Act 2002. This makes it an offence to refuse to give your name and address to a police officer, where the officer reasonably suspects that you have engaged in "anti-social behaviour". "Anti-social behaviour" is defined as behaviour that has caused harassment, alarm or distress to other people, so it's not difficult for the police to say that they suspect this in protest situations. Section 50 carries no specific power of arrest, but if you refuse to give your name and address, then the police can say that they suspect you of committing a non-arrestable offence and Section 25 PACE applies - see Sections 2 and 3 above.

The use by the police of this power will at some stage be challenged in court, as it was not designed to deal with political protest but with anti-social behaviour, for example by youths on housing estates. But certain police forces - notably Staffordshire - are currently using the power, and you should be aware that they could arrest you if you refuse to give details when required under this Section. There is no requirement under Section 50 to give your date of birth."

That leaves the civil side of things, i.e. the use of trespass. As far as I know, the use of a section 6 overrules trespass as you have established a 'home'. But wil have a quick google. You could too!

This is stuff on civil trespass:


21.2 Civil Trespass

If the premises are open to the public - eg a shop or a bank - then you have an implied license i.e. permission to enter, and you are not trespassing. Similarly in the case of somebody's home, you have an implied permission to walk up their driveway and to knock on the front door.

However if you are asked to leave by the occupier of the house or shop and you refuse, then you become a trespasser. And if you enter a building or part of a building which is clearly marked "Staff Only" or you jump over a security gate in order to gain entry to premises, then there is no implied license to enter and you are trespassing immediately.

The police have been known to demand peoples' details while they are trespassing, so that they can hand them over to the occupier. They have no right to demand them for this purpose and you do not have to comply with such a request. A landowner may use reasonable force to move you from his premises, and anyone - the police included - may assist him with this."

Criminal Justice Act

This is the law passed in 1994 to make the actions of Travellers and Gypsies, Road Protesters, Squatters, Ravers, Hunt Saboteurs and other lovely folk, illegal (and protesters in general). One section was used against the George Fox Six (can you work out which?). Its terms have been slightly altered by recent 'anti-terrorism' or 'serious crime' legislation to crack down even more on dissent, however, the following sums up the sections which could conceivably be used against a group of international students attempting to run a learning zone at their own university!!

The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 a guide to the complexities of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994.

This is a brief guide (courtesy of Freedom Network) to the CJA. A copy of the entire Act can be viewed online

Sections 61 & 62: Trespassers on land Two or more persons trespassing on land ( not including public highway land, eg verges & lay-bys) with the intention of living there may be directed to leave the land by the police if: (a) there are 6 or more vehicles there; or (b) if any damage has been caused to the land, eg crop damage ); or (c) ’threatening or abusive words or behaviour’ have been used against the occupier or their agents. Not leaving ’as soon as reasonably practicable’ is an offence; as is returning to the land within 3 months; the maximum sentence is 3 months in prison and/or a £2,500 fine. The police are also given powers to seize vehicles.

Section 68 & 69: Disruptive Trespassers These refer to the new offence of ’aggravated trespass’. Section 68 is committed by anyone trespassing on land in the open air (not including highways and roads) with the intent of intimidating other people engaged in ’lawful activity’ on that land or adjoining land, so as to deter them, or obstructing/ disrupting them (’lawful activities’ of course include such delights as fox-hunting; earth-raping etc etc...)

Section 69 gives the police sort of preventative powers to direct people to leave land. This direction can be made by a senior officer as long as at least one person is committing or intends to commit aggravated trespass, or there are two or more people present with the ’common purpose’ of aggravated trespass. Failure to comply with this direction carries a maximum penalty of 3 months in prison and/or a 2,500 fine.

Sections 70 & 71: Trespassory Assemblies As an amendment to the Public Order Act of 1986, this part allows the police to apply to the local authority (or, in London, the Home Secretary) to prohibit ’trespassory assemblies’ of 20+ people for up to 4 days with a 5-mile exclusion zone, as long as there is a risk of ’serious disruption to the local community’, or of ’significant damage’ to the land or buildings/ monuments on it which may have historical/ archaeological/ scientific importance. Anyone organising or inciting another to attend one of these may be arrested and imprisoned for up to three months. Attendance, and refusal to be directed away, is punished by arrest and a maximum fine of £1000.

Sections 72, 73 & 74: Squatters - and Protected Intended Occupiers These mean changes to section 6 of the Criminal Law Act of 1977, and apply only to residential property. DROs (’displaced residential occupiers’, an extremely rare phenomenon!) and PIOs ( ’protected intended occupiers’) - or others who can prove that they are acting on behalf of them - are made exempt from the protection previously given squatters and are permitted to use violence to secure entry. It becomes an offence not to leave premises when requested to by a PIO or DRO, liable to 6 months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of 5000. Section 74 introduces a new offence of deliberately or recklessly making a false statement to claim PIO status. The definition of a PIO has been extended slightly.

Sections 75 & 76: Interim Possession Orders These sections introduce a new ’faster’ way of evicting squatters. Once an IPO (interim possession order) has been granted by a court and all the legal procedures have been correctly followed, the ’squatters’ must leave within 24 hours of its service. It covers any person who is there when the Order is served and even those who arrive afterwards - failing to leave or returning within one year are both offences. The maximum penalty is 6 months in prison and/or a 5000 fine. Similarly to above, section 75 makes it an offence for the owner to make a false or misleading statement to obtain an IPO.

Sections 77, 78 & 79: Unauthorised Campers ’Unauthorised campers’ are people residing in a vehicle or vehicles on any part of the highway or any other land in the open air without permission of the owner. Section 77 gives the local council the authority to direct an unauthorised camper to leave the land and remove all vehicles. It becomes an offence to not leave the land and remove all vehicles/ property ’as soon as reasonably practicable’ or to re-enter the land within 3 months, liable to a fine of up to 1000. A magistrates’ court can make an order under section 78 which allows the local council to take ’reasonable steps’ to ensure the removal of a vehicle and any person residing within it. Another new offence is the wilful obstruction of anyone engaged in the removal - maximum fine of 1000.