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Cover Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law

15. Public Order Offences  

This chapter considers offences of public order, in the light of the importance attached to freedom of public demonstration. The main focus is the Public Order Act 1986, and the offences defined therein. The offences are analysed in the context of individual rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association protected respectively by Articles 10 and 11 of the ECHR. The important distinction between prior and subsequent restraint on demonstration is also considered in this context. The old common law offence of public nuisance is also briefly considered, insofar as it may be applied in public order contexts.


Cover Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod's Criminal Law

31. Offences against public order (additional chapter)  

David Ormerod and Karl Laird

The Public Order Act 1986 is the principal source of public order offences. These are riot, violent disorder and affray, along with inducing fear of violence and behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Some of the offences in the 1986 Act may be committed in private, but their public order foundations are paramount and these offences should not be treated as merely additional offences against the person. This chapter deals with offences against public order. It also considers harassment, alarm or distress, racially aggravated public order offences and acts intended or likely to incite racial or religious hatred and hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. The chapter concludes by looking at public nuisance and vicarious liability.