Extinction Rebellion and Obstruction of the Highway | 39 Park Square


Extinction Rebellion and Obstruction of the Highway

6 November 2019

As Extinction Rebellion continue to make headlines, 39 Park Square pupil Peter Cruickshank gave a seminar talk to a packed audience of lawyers and Extinction Rebellion activists.


The seminar was titled, ‘Climate Change Litigation and the Right to Protest’, and run by the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA). The topic was climate change litigation and the legal issues raised by the protests led by Extinction Rebellion, and how these protests are likely to affect business as usual for the corporate world as well as the impact on government policy. Interestingly, the High Court gave judgment earlier that day, ruling that the Metropolitan Police’s blanket ban on Extinction Rebellion protesting across London was unlawful.


Hosted at the offices of Squire Patton Boggs in London, Peter’s talk was one of 4 during the seminar. Other speakers included Zion Lights of Extinction Rebellion, Stephen Hockman QC of 6 Pump Court, and Anna Dews of Leigh Day solicitors.


Peter gave the first talk, covering the criminal law angle and addressing the following questions:

– What are Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested for?

– What sentences are they likely to get?

– What arguments can be deployed in the courts in their defence?


Peter’s talk focused on s.137 of the Highways Act 1980, which is the offence of obstruction of the highway. Peter presented the relevant case law and discussed the process in the courts. The event led to lively discussion and questions from several attending Extinction Rebellion activists who had themselves been arrested as part of the ‘October Rebellion’.


Peter is grateful to Squire Patton Boggs for hosting the event, and to UKELA for the opportunity.


A copy of the event’s programme is available to download Seminar programme