UK Court of Appeal rules that kettling was lawful

In the UK, the Court of Appeal in R (on the application of Hannah McClure and Joshua Moos) v the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2012] EWCA Civ 12  ruled that the Metropolitan Police’s use of kettling during demonstrations was lawful. After the G20 summit, two separate demonstrations took place; the Royal Exchange demonstration became disorderly and seriously violent, whereas the Climate Camp demonstration was relatively peaceful. After the police dispersed the protestors at the Royal Exchange demonstration, the Chief Superintendent decided that the Climate Camp demonstration should also be dispersed in case violent elements from the Royal Exchange demonstration joined the Climate Camp one. The Divisional Court had determined that the police officers had used unjustified force against protestors when they used a kettling tactic, where protestors were blocked within police cordons and prevented from leaving. The Court of Appeal ruled against the Divisional Court’s judgment after determining that the Divisional Court did not consider the reasonableness of the Chief Superintendent’s apprehension of the imminence of a breach of the peace, but rather based its decision on its own view of the imminence of the danger.

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