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Lady Dido Berkeley Acquitted in Extinction Rebellion Prosecution

Charles Streeten
Jonathan Welch

On 20 January, Lady Dido Berkeley was acquitted by City of London Magistrates’ Court of the offence of knowingly failing to comply with a condition imposed on a public assembly contrary to section 14(5) of the Public Order Act 1986.

The charge arose out of the Extinction Rebellion protest at Parliament Square in April 2019.

Lady Berkeley's defence was that:

1. The prosecution had not proved she had knowingly breached conditions imposed under section 14 of the 1986 Act; and

2. The condition was imposed unlawfully as it disproportionately curtailed the Convention rights of the protesters in going beyond what was necessary to alleviate disruption to the life of the community.

The Magistrates’ accepted Lady Berkeley's primary defence and held, that the prosecution had not shown that Lady Berkeley had been informed of and understood that section 14 conditions were in place.

Lady Berkeley is a longstanding champion of environmental justice, having been the claimant in, amongst others, a leading case on the EIA Regulations which went to the CJEU and House of Lords (Berkeley v Secretary of State for the Environment  [2000] UKHL 36).

Charles Streeten appeared pro bono (direct access) for Lady Berkeley. He was assisted by Jonathan Welch a pupil barrister at Francis Taylor Building.

Press coverage

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Mail