Explainer: The activist legal support network

A lot has changed in the world of activist legal support and many people have been left wondering who they should turn to for advice and support. Carl Spender of the Activist Court Aid Brigade is here with the answers.

Who should I contact for advice about protesting and the law?
If your query is urgent, call (07946) 541-511. This will connect you to the 24/7 legal hotline previously operated by the Green and Black Cross (GBC). This is the number listed at the bottom of bustcards. If the matter isn’t particularly urgent, email your query to courtsupport (at) protonmail.com or consult the GBC website. In either case, avoid explicit discussion of any plans you may or may not have to break the law and keep all questions hypothetical (i.e. “If someone were to do x, what might the legal consequences be?”).

I was arrested at a demonstration – who can support me going forward?
The Activist Court Aid Brigade (ACAB) provides support for activists who have been arrested and/or are facing prosecution (previously the role of the now-defunct Legal Defence Monitoring Group). You can get in touch with ACAB via email at courtsupport (at) protonmail.com or by calling the hotline on (07946) 541-511.

I’m organising a demonstration and would like to request the presence of legal observers — who do I contact?
Email legal-observer-network (at) protonmail.com. This is the address of the Independent Legal Observer Network (ILON) who are now responsible for legal observer callouts and back office support.

I want to train as a Legal Observer — who should I contact?
Legal observer training is delivered by the GBC Trainings Collective. You can email your request to GBCtrainings (at) protonmail.com.

My organisation would like to receive training on our rights when protesting. Who can deliver this?
Send your request — detailing when, where and a rough idea of numbers — to courtsupport (at) protonmail.com.

I want to train as a Legal Observer — who should I contact?
Legal observer training is delivered by the GBC Trainings Collective. You can email your request to GBCtrainings (at) protonmail.com.

My organisation would like to receive training on our rights when protesting. Who can deliver this?
Send your request — detailing when, where and a rough idea of numbers — to courtsupport (at) protonmail.com.

I’m a squatter in need of advice – who can I talk to?
You can visit the Advisory Service for Squatters on Monday to Friday 2-6pm above Freedom Bookshop, call (020) 3216-0099 or email advice (at) squatter.org.uk. Out of hours, you can consult the ASS website or if it’s truly urgent call the legal advice hotline (07946) 541-511.


Main pic: Legal observation at a protest against Fortnum and Masons in 2011, by Dominic Alves

This article was written for the Winter 2019/20 issue of Freedom Journal.