Kay v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis: Admn 27 Jun 2006

For many years and in many large cities, once a month, cyclists had gathered en masse to cycle through the city in a ‘Critical Mass’ demonstration. There was no central organisation. Clarification was sought as to whether the consent of the police was required under the 1986 Act.
Held: Whether there was anybody who might be prosecuted for leading a ride taking place without an order would be a matter for the police in each case. The court could not anticipate that. Nor could it be said that the purpose of the ride was not one governed by the 1986 Act. It was suggested that the procession had acquired the status of being a customary procession, however: ‘the denial of a collective intention falling within s.11(1) may not be easy to reconcile with the continuity of qualifying intention needed to attract the protection of s.11(2). Either will afford a defence, but it is hard to see how both can. ‘ There had now been 140 such rides, and it was not proper to deny that they had become common or customary, and no notice was required.
Sedley LJ contrasted the control powers in ss12 and 13, applying to any procession, notifiable or not, if the circumstances indicated a material threat of disorder or intimidation, with the purpose of s11 which was to permit the policing of processions, whether or not they posed such a threat.
Sedley LJ, Gray J
[2006] EWHC 1536 (Admin), Times 30-Jun-2006, [2006] Po LR 111, [2006] RTR 39, [2006] ACD 86
Public Order Act 1986 811
CitedFlockhart v Robinson 1950
A challenge was made to the organising of a procession. Its route was determined by Mr Flockhart as he went along.
Held: For the purposes of section 3(4) of the 1936 Act, a procession ‘is a body of persons moving along a route’ and that, by . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromCommissioner of Police for the Metropolis v Kay CA 21-May-2007
The commissioner appealed against a judgment that a mass cycle ride held regularly but over different routes did not first require notice to be given.
Held: The commissioner’s appeal succeeded. The fact that the route changed meant that the . .
At First InstanceKay v Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis HL 26-Nov-2008
The claimant had been involved in a monthly cycle ride through central London which had continued for many years. The ride took place without any central organisation and without any route being pre-planned. They objected to being required to apply . .
CitedPowlesland v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 9-Dec-2013
The defendant apealed against his conviction for having taken part in a public procession, a a Critical Mass Cycle Ride, knowingly in breach of conditions attached to it by the Police. The defendant had argued that the ride was not a procession.
Updated: 30 January 2021; Ref: scu.242879