This thesis explores the boundaries of low-level public order law, drawing on optimal pathways and standardizations across the four legal systems of England and Wales, Australia, The United States of America and Germany. The aim is to identify the origins of the public order frameworks, explore limits of proscribed behaviour and to determine whether low-level public order laws satisfy the requirement of certainty within the respective jurisdictions. The requisite mental elements are investigated alongside the range of defences available to those accused of such an offence. In order to fully investigate the unique synergies between protest and low-level public order, the study uses a comparative approach to examine the interaction between the low level provisions and constitutionally guaranteed rights to free expression; including an examination of the conceptual analysis of the wider frameworks within which protest and low-level public order operate. As the source of much contemporary protest, the impact of the War on Terror upon the nexus between public order and protest will also be examined in respect all of the jurisdictions. It is argued that the law relating to low-level public order in all jurisdictions is, to some extent, based around textquotedblleftcatch alltextquotedblright provisions that criminalize a broad range of behaviour and also allow the police and the courts a wide range of discretion when dealing with such offences. The various solutions in respect of structure, operation and judicial interpretation of the offences will be examined. This will highlight standardizations and also fundamental disparities between the four jurisdictions. Such a comparative investigation is unique. The study draws upon multiple standardizations to model the lower end of criminality across the four diverse legal systems, providing dynamic areas of contrast through an examination of both civil law and common law solutions to the treatment of low-level disorder. The efficacy of both codified and ad hoc arrangements to regulate disorder while guaranteeing the right to protest are also assessed. The thesis contributes to the understanding of the scope and contours of low-level public order law as well as extrapolating optimal solutions from the findings of this study.
|Published - 1 Jun 2011