Reviewed by: Matthew Varnham
Author: Tom Wainwright, Anna Morris, Katherine Craig and Owen Greenhall
Publisher: Bloomsbury Professional
ISBN: 9781847669810
Price: £50

As unprecedented numbers take to the streets to engage in increasingly creative peaceful protest, we bear witness to rising instances of police hindering effective protest, often unlawfully. Having an understanding of protest law has never been so important, which is why The Protest Handbook is such an essential read for practitioner and protester alike.

Sharing the expertise of the practitioner lawyers who wrote it, this landmark handbook will assist groups looking to organise protests or individuals wanting to take part in one by making them aware of the law most relevant to them. It is only when informed protesters, supported by informed lawyers, work together to challenge unlawful interference with the exercise of their rights that those rights in law are truly realised.

Designed for lawyers with activists in mind, the handbook takes the reader through: the powers of police at protests; their rights and the procedures that they should expect in the police station; criminal court procedures; common offences and defences; occupations; and how to hold the police to account. The benefits of a handbook intended for both practitioner and protester include the fact that it will become harder for the police to remain unchallenged for any breach of the law on their part. The courts will be better informed by protesters who will understand the law which, although often desirable, is perhaps necessary now given legal aid reform.

Although the law is stated as at January 2012, purchase of the handbook includes access to an online service providing purchasers with updates and developments in the law that can be cross-referenced with the handbook.

Matthew Varnham is a law graduate and human rights campaigner