Just Stop Oil could be forced to PAY compensation to those disrupted by protests

Just Stop Oil could be forced to PAY compensation to those disrupted by protests

Just Stop Oil protesters attempt to break Magna Carter glass

Just Stop Oil
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 20/05/2024

- 13:21

Updated: 20/05/2024

- 14:08

Damages could be given to those who were delayed in getting to work or stopped from attending lectures

Protest groups such as Just Stop Oil (JSO) will be forced to pay compensation to those they have caused disruption to under new Government plans.

The scheme, supported by Downing Street, would see individuals, businesses or institutions who can prove that they have suffered from an illegal protest, receive compensation from the respective activists.

The commissioned review on political violence and disruption is due to be announced on Tuesday (May 21).

Led by Lord Walney, the independent Government advisor, the review has been devised in order to hold protesters to account for their actions in scenarios where ambulances have been held up, or people have been delayed from getting to work, for example.


Just Stop Oil protesters demonstrate outside New Scotland Yard in London

Just Stop Oil could be forced to PAY compensation to those disrupted by protests


Compensation could also be given to students who have been stopped from attending classes or achieving their degrees, such as recent pro-Palestinian protests at universities.

The review will set out more than 40 recommendations on combating violent and disruptive protests, The Telegraph has reported.

The publication has also said that the plans will urge the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice to devise a legal framework for compensation.

A Home Office source said: “If Just Stop Oil organises a major roadblock and you cannot get to work or you miss a hospital appointment, there would be a framework where you could more easily sue the organisation for the loss they have caused you. It would be a statutory scheme but civil action.


Just Stop Oil protesters Just Stop Oil protesters stormed the National Gallery, using hammers to smash a paintingJust Stop Oil

“No10 really sees the politics of being able to give more power to individuals to be able to do this. Every time it happens, you have intense frustration for individuals who take things into their own hands but are ultimately powerless when they cannot get to where they are going.

“People organising these blockades are not seeing sufficient deterrent from individual prosecutions. It is about how much it will be worthwhile for them to do it if these proposals are enacted.”

In the report, the Government is expected to demand “protest exclusion zones” around MPs' offices.

Whilst there is nothing to stop individuals or businesses from suing a group, no one is understood to have taken action so far likely due to the price and complexity of doing so.

The Home Office said it would consider the recommendations. Lord Walney declined to comment until his report was presented to Parliament.

Just Stop Oil disrupting opening night of the Proms\u200bJust Stop Oil disrupting opening night of the PromsTwitter/Just Stop Oil
Just Stop Oil take to the Sondheim Theatre stageJust Stop Oil have halted theatre productions and sporting events

PA/Just Stop Oil

Last week, a report led by former Labour MP John Woodcock suggested that groups such as JSO and Palestine Action should be proscribed in a similar way to terror organisations.

Woodcock, who serves as Rishi Sunak’s independent adviser on political violence, wants to make it an offence to belong to a protest group judged to be “extreme” and which routinely uses criminal methods to campaign.

At the end of 2023, it was revealed via a Freedom of Information request that JSO has cost the Met Police almost £20million.

Scotland Yard said time spent on the group equated to about 300 officers per day being taken out of frontline policing across London.

Commander Kyle Gordon called on the group to engage with the force. He said: “When it comes to Just Stop Oil, we know when they talk about slow marches it is in everything other than name an attempt to block the road and cause maximum disruption to people right across London.

“Our desire is that Just Stop Oil come forward and speak with us, so we can actually work with them.

“Twenty million pounds from the public purse is a lot of money. I would much, much prefer to be using that within communities.”

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