Sound Advice


We will defend our rights in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights:


Article 2 Everyone shall have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.

Article 9 Everyone has the right to freedom of thought.

Article 10 Everyone has the right to freedom of expression.

Article 11 Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.


“The Right to Party”


WE ALL LOVE A PARTY …… ….. but nothing comes for free, so bear that in mind –think of transport, breakages, theft,etc., and give a generous donation to keep them happening.

We have respect for the environment that we party in and always try to leave a site / building in a good state, not that it makes any difference to the old bill!

Safety for ourselves, others, and the venue is paramount. Fire regulations should be strictly adhered to.We can be proud of the fact that there have been no deaths at a free party.
We respect others’ need for peace and quiet, which is why we want our parties / festivals in areas and buildings well away from residential property.

Whilst being polite to forces of “law and order” we maintain our right as law abiding citizens to remain silent if we wish, and refuse to offer any information concerning the party / festival, its organisation or its purpose.

We insist upon the correct legal procedures being carried out by the forces of law and order with regard to our parties / festivals.

This is what to do if you or the party / festival you’re attending appears threatened with closure, or worse!
If police attempt to enter the premises without a warrant, they will bluff, cajole and threaten.



The new powers under the CRIMINAL JUSTICE and PUBLIC ORDER ACT 1994 (CJA) (more of which follows) give the police fresh powers to enter, stop parties and confiscate equipment. Nevertheless the police may also try and gain entry on the grounds of different offences. All of the likely ones are dealt with here — but the list is not exhaustive!

1. Criminal Justice Act (section 63).
2. Breach of the Peace.
3. Noise complaints.
4. Presence of drugs.
5. Public nuisance.
6. Illegal sale of alcohol and unlicensed entertainment


1. CJA — SECTION 63.

This section defines what a rave is:

“a gathering on land in the open air (or partly open to the air) of 100 or more people whether or not trespassing at which amplified music is played at night which by reason of


-its loudness
-its duration
-the time it is played
IS LIKELY TO CAUSE (ie. does not have to have caused) SERIOUS DISTRESS TO THE LOCALS”.


* It includes parties on your own land or anyone else’s.

* It does not include raves in enclosed spaces, eg. underground –tunnels, caves, etc., nor fully enclosed warehouse spaces, etc.


It could catch any decent house party !

Once the above circumstances have been found to exist police have extra powers of stop, search and seizure. They can ENTER A PREMISES WITHOUT WARRANT to see if the situation would justify a section 63 direction / to use any of the following powers:

They can DIRECT
2 or more people PREPARING for
10 or more people WAITING for
10 or more people ATTENDING the rave
to LEAVE and remove ANY VEHICLES or PROPERTY from the land.


They can ARREST you if you fail to comply within a reasonable time OR return within 7 days.


They can SEIZE AND REMOVE VEHICLES AND SOUND SYSTEMS if a direction has been given to leave and you don’t, or you return within 7 days. If the police exercise their powers under this Act there is little you can do (legally) except try all the usual tactics.


It is unlikely that the police will arrest the whole party (there’s always a first time!) but they will seize equipment.


CASE HISTORY: Blackmoon at Corby, August ’95. At the conclusion of the trial, February 1996, they were found guilty and the PA was forfeited and is scheduled for destruction, cost of which to be paid for by the defendants.One member was given 1 years conditional discharge which is essentially a bind over, but more serious as it is a criminal offence. An appeal is pending.


Defence;”Reasonable steps” must be taken to inform those present that a direction to leave under Section 63 has been given. Was it? How? When? By whom?


The direction must be given by a Superintendent and then any constable at the scene can communicate this to those present. A constable operating alone cannot issue a direction .The officers must identify which section they are using.


It can be a defence to argue that the time given to leave was ‘unreasonable’, eg. vehicle broken down, overheated PA, etc. Think it through..!


It is a defence to have a reasonable excuse to re-enter the site. To collect something? Another different gathering? Powers relating to siezure of PA should not include staging, lighting, vinyl, backdrops, instruments, just the actual PA equipment.


The police regularly abuse their powers in relation to this one and it helps if you have someone there willing and able to argue the point. A lawyer on the end of a mobile phone can be very useful.


Prepare yourselves in advance! Hired equipment can be retrieved by the owner if it can be proved that there was no knowledge of the PA being used at that gathering. The owner must apply to the court for its return and will get it back eventually. CASE HISTORY; Part of the Black Moon PA was returned (in a bad condition!) to the owner after a long period of time. LOOPHOLE !!!!





“exempt person” in relation to land,or any gathering on land, means the occupier (includes possibly squatter), any member of his family and any employee or agent of his (that could mean DJs, etc.) and any person whose home is situated on the land.


It is not clear how far the idea of agents can go — it may be possible to argue with the police that you are an agent of the occupier and it is your equipment and therefore it cannot be taken under this section.


The Act allows for sound systems and vehicles to be removed — it does not include lighting, rigs, tarpaulins, etc.,etc.





There is no clear definition, either for them or for us, hence the Criminal Justice Act which will do away with all the unclarity.


Breach of the peace is used in aggressive / public order circumstances when there is aggro or something that is breaching the “Queen’s peace”. Usually it has meant when harm is actually or likely to be done to a person,or, in his presence, to his property, or when someone is in fear of being harmed through assault, riot, or unlawful assembly.


If you are trespassing, a landowner or his / her agents can use force to remove you, but the police cannot act as the landlord’s agents.


Trespass is not a criminal offence, and as such is not arrestable. IF you should resist the landlord’s attempts to remove you while the police are present you may be arrested for a Breach of the Peace.


Always ask who the landlord is, ask to be introduced, and calmly insist on knowing what is meant by a Breach of the Peace, and if all else fails and the police force entry without a warrant, and arrest, etc., immediately contact a 24 hour helpline and complain or sue.


Aggravated Trespass is a different ball game and is widely used (Newbury, Hunt Sabs, etc.)


CASE HISTORY: PA seized in Bangor, Sept ’95, for Breach of the Peace. It was returned and one person had to attend court. Outcome unknown. In another 1995 case the court ruled ‘there had to be violence either used or incited by the defendent’. Noise alone cannot be used as a Breach of the Peace. So we should see Breach of the Peace being dropped as a means of stopping a party.




It is possible that the police will try and shut a party down via the Local Environmental Health Officer or vice versa, even though they have a whole range of other powers to choose from. They may turn up with someone from the Local Authority. They can serve an “abatement notice” on the party organiser at the time or before, and failure to comply with any such notice could well lead to confiscation of the P.A. However, it would be the Local Authority, not the police, who would bring any subsequent prosecution.


The police, themselves, do not have the power to close anything down or seize anything under this law.


Many councils now have Party Patrols and are using them and occasionally taking people to court. Fines for ignoring enforcement notices are stiff, max.œ5000, or 20k if the premises were ‘business premises’. Some councils are not using the courts but are using a ‘bind over’ to keep the peace, or lose your home! They will return hired PA’s on the following Monday!


CASE HISTORY: Croydon Council, August 1995, equipment seized . Brent Council,1995, equipment seized.


Warning! A Bill is going thru Parliament on Noise to target house parties, sponsored by Harry Greenaway, a right-wing MP. BUT the Institute of Environmental Health Officers has recently issued a report saying that travellers and ravers should have access to derelict land for both living and partying!! Good on ’em, EHO’s should take note.




Insist on the presention of any search warrant if the police want to search the premises. DO NOT INVITE THEM IN. Once inside by invitation they can search but they do not need a warrant to search a person, a vehicle or a vessel if they have reasonable grounds (eg. smell) to suspect that there are drugs present.


The mouth is NO LONGER an intimate area and therefore can be searched WITHOUT CONSENT.This is important to remember for obvious reasons.


Obstruction under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1973 is designed to cover any disposal of the drugs, eg. swallowing, dropping, throwing, etc. Use your common sense — the police will need to be able to prove that it was your drugs they saw thrown to the floor or whatever. It is important to remember that “obstruction” is potentially more serious than mere possession, and carries separate penalties!




Basically this is another popular catch-all. It means any act or omission that may endanger life, health, property, morals or the comfort of the public, or obstruct the public from enjoying their rights!! It must affect a proportion of the community (ie. needs lots of complaints, not just a few ).


Inspite of the CJA and all those new and lovely powers, police are still using ‘Public Nuisance’ or ‘Conspiracy to cause Public Nuisance’.


CASE HISTORY ; Hampshire, Thames Valley and Northhampton Police arrest 8 for Conspiracy to Cause a Public Nuisance under the Criminal Law Act 1977 for the anti-CJA demonstration known as ‘The Mother’ festival 7/7/1995. All charges dropped due to ‘lack of sufficient information needed to secure a successful prosecution’ (thus saving themselves an estimated 4million pounds!). One PA at Sleaford in connection with the sane(sic!) event had their PA siezed for suspicion of ‘Conspiracy to Cause….etc. It took several months to get it back. Raves / acid house parties have been held to constitute a public nuisance ( See Regina v Shorrock [1994] 98 Cr. App. R. 67 ).


If you are the land owner you are deemed guilty if you knew or ought to have known that the use of the land would result in a public nuisance.Using this one, the landowner can be nicked but NOT if the CJA is being used. It does not have a power of arrest without warrant.


CASE HISTORY; Castlemorton14 (Regina v Feeney and 0thers, Wolverhampton Crown Court, 10th January to 18th March 1994 [unreported]). All defendants were acquitted.




You do need a license to sell alcohol and it is illegal to sell without — to do so leaves you open to charges of organising an “illegal entertainment” which is quite serious, as it’s all to do with health and safety, fire regulations, etc., and could justify arrest. Max. fine 20k and/or 6mths inside.


It’s best to stick to teas, soft drinks, soup and LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of WATER !!!!!(FREE water and flat fizzy drinks are better for dehydration purposes.) The CJA does not apply to anything that is licensed.


CASE HISTORY; PA seized at Abingdon Teknoval ’94 for ‘unlicensed entertainment’ and now facing a hefty max. fine of 20k. and/or prison. The case was lost but there is an appeal pending and as we go to print it’s looking good. Keep yer fingers x’d. This one has taken over a year. The PA was returned after a long time, as it was seized and kept as evidence.




Police can set up road checks when they believe there is a Breach of the Peace, or one is imminent. ( see;Breach of the Peace section, if the road block is of the B of the P variety then remember the bit about ‘violence’) Although they can be asked for reasons, and might later have to justify their actions, they may turn you back from your destination. Get organised. Get names and numbers, record dates, witnesses, etc., because there is no constitution and no “rights” .



However, now, under the CJA, the police have new powers to stop any person who is en route to a section 63 gathering (ie. officer reasonably suspects is en route — presumably by their hairstyle, hat, music playing, general appearance and other objectionable prejudices) within 5 miles of the boundary of the party and direct them NOT to proceed in the direction of the gathering.


Which is a little harsh if you are visiting your grannie !!!!


If you fail to comply, or you come back, you can be arrested and you are committing an offence.


YOUR FREEDOM TO MOVE HAS BEEN RESTRICTED !!!!!! They can do this in respect of raves ( section 63 ) and trespassory assemblies. The important thing to remember about section 63 is that it applies equally to places that are NOT trespassed. It’s worth remembering that the blocks can be in the middle of the country and a long queue of cars is not what they want. Don’t give up, don’t go home, there’s safety in numbers, and the persistent and sorted get there in the end.


CASE HISTORY: Hinckley Point, 7/7/95. The road blox were abandoned on the Sunday, and prior to that people still got thru and more would have done if they had stuck together.






Under the POLICE AND CRIMINAL ACT ( PACE ) the police have powers to search a person in a public place if they have reasonable grounds to suspect they have stolen or prohibited (ie. weapons / drugs ) articles on them. Codes of Practice under PACE apply which says:


CLAUSE 7 Reasonable suspicion can never be supported on the basis of personal factors alone, eg. colour, age, hairstyle, or manner of dress………nor………stereotyped images of person or groups.


Before a search of a vehicle the officer must take reasonable steps to tell you:-

his name and number
the object of the search
the grounds for doing it
and if practicable, (ie. it’s quiet ), make a record of the search and give it to you, using a special form called ” The National Search Record ” (Code 4:3 ). INSIST on it being filled in, coz they hate the paper-work and being asked to justify their actions.


Reasonable force can be used to search you / your vehicle ( Code 3.2 ). It is important to note that the mouth is no longer an intimate area of the body and can therefore be searched without your consent( Section 55). Likewise plucking of hair is permissable — they will use this to add to the DNA database and there is little you can do about it. You are entitled to a record of the search and the grounds for it. “Intimate sample” has been widened to include a dental impression ( Section 58).


There is no obligation on you to provide your name, address or date of birth even if you are searched ( Code 4.4 ). However, if you fail to do so it may provide “reasonable grounds” to arrest you if it is combined with another offence. ( ie. It provides one of the general arrest conditions under Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 so that an officer can arrest you if s/he doubts your name and address if s/he thinks you have committed an offence and it does not carry a power of arrest, eg.obstruction of an officer.)


Further failing to provide your correct date of birth will delay your release from the police station since they will not be able to check your record and decide whether to give you bail.




Now the police have vastly increased powers to seize and retain vehicles and sound systems.


Once a section 63 gathering is found to be in place (a “RAVE” as defined by the Act) and the police have directed that all persons leave the rave and remove their equipment and vehicles and they refuse to do so within a reasonable time then they can seize them.


They can also RETAIN them until the end of the proceedings (ie. the court proceedings that may arise out of any criminal charges brought under the Act). This could be a very long time and could cost people a lot of money in lost revenue. Further, the police can charge the owners of the property for the costs of removal and storage and worse, destruction!!!!!


CASE HISTORY: Black Moon at Corby.

HOWEVER……..if you are an “exempt person” (see section 1) police cannot act. So if you are having a party on land that is private (which remember is covered by the Act) and you ensure that the “occupier” of the land is the owner of the equipment then it cannot be seized !! Furthermore, it would appear that the police are fairly reluctant to nab hired equipment, for obvious reasons. If they do, it can be retrieved eventually.




Vehicles cannot be forfeited but the costs of removal and storage can be reclaimed from the owner (by way of a civil debt — but it may mean you don’t get it back until you’ve paid up or made an arrangement to do so !!).


Sound Systems can be forfeited but it is not the police who decide. It is a matter for the sentencing court — They can decide that as part of your sentence (ie. you have to be convicted of an offence under the Act) that you should forfeit it.


HOWEVER, they have to be sure that it was used at the rave.


!! If it has been disabled prior to its removal, then it could be more difficult to prove.


!! They should look at the effects of an order for forfeiture on the owner– ie. the more it is worth the less likely they are to make that order.


CASE HISTORY: This was not the case for Black Moon however, whose PA was valued at œ6000 and they still lost it!


Always ask what powers an officer is using — seek legal advice if anything is seized.




“The Right to Party”

In practice you have few enforceable rights against the police, even evidence illegally obtained by them can be used against you in court. You have the right to be treated fairly and with respect by the police.


You have a right of silence. However, if you do not answer questions put to you by the police or if you do not give evidence at your trial, this may be taken into account when deciding if you are guilty of the crime.

On The Street. — You can be stopped and searched if the police have a reasonable suspicion that you are in possession of controlled drugs, offensive weapon or firearm, a sharp article, or are carrying stolen goods. Likewise, if you are going to or have arrived at certain sports grounds.( See also “ROADBLOX”).

If the police are not in uniform then ask to see their warrant card.
Ask why you have been stopped and at the end ask for a record of the search ( this is a standard form and is supposed to detail their reasons).
Co-operate but do not consent to a search . You run risks both of physical injury and serious criminal charges if you physically resist. If the search is unlawful, take action afterwards by using the law.

New police caution

“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned, something which you later rely on in court. Anything you say may be given in evidence.”


Suggested reply


“I have been advised that I should answer no questions. It is not right that I should have to give a complete case for myself until charges have been made and properly explained, and until there are other people around to check that questions put to me are fair and legal. I will say nothing until I am advised to do so by a fully qualified advisor.”



There may be times when an innocent explanation for what you have done will cause the police to leave you alone.
It is wise not to discuss the case with the police until you have consulted privately with a solicitor. NEVER give a voluntary statement. It can be used to arrest you.There is little they can do if you refuse to give an interview before you are actually charged. Giving a statement is no guarantee they will not charge you in any case .Don’t make it easy for ’em!
If the police are about to arrest you or have arrested you there is no such thing as a “friendly chat” to sort things out. Anything you say can be used against you (and probably will be), so think before you talk.
In the police station you always have the right

to be treated humanely and with respect.
to see the written codes governing your rights and how you are treated.
to speak to the custody officer (the officer who must look after your welfare).
to know why you have been arrested.
You also have the right (but they can in rare situations be delayed)

to have someone notified of your arrest (not to make the phone call yourself).

to consult with a solicitor privately



The police can only keep you for a certain period, normally a maximum of 24 hours (or 36 hours for a serious arrestable offence). Make sure the correct time for your arrest is on the custody sheet.
Make sure you know why you have been arrested. The nature of the charge determines your entitlement to rights in the police station.
Insist on seeing a solicitor (you might have to wait, but it’s always free). Ask them to be present when you are interviewed. DO NOT BE PUT OFF. NEVER sign the custody sheet saying you don’t want to see one.
If you ask for anything and it is refused, make sure this is written down on the custody record.


Allows a court trying a person for an offence to “draw such inferences….. as appear proper” from the failure of an accused person to mention a fact which he could reasonably have been expected to mention on being questioned under caution, before being charged, or upon being charged, with that offence. If the accused does not give evidence at his trial (section 35) this allows the judge or magistrate or jury to “draw such inferences as appear proper” from that failure.


These “inferences” extend to failure to account for objects or substances in his possession or marks on his person (section 36) and failure to account for his presence at a particular place (section 37).




If you want to challenge anything that the police have done, then get the names and addresses of any witnesses and make a written record as soon as possible after the event which is dated and signed. This can be used as evidence in court. If you are injured, or property is damaged, then take photographs or video recordings as soon as possible and have physical injuries medically examined. If you have been treated unfairly, then complain to a civil liberties group such as Liberty, Release, etc. and complain to the Police Complaints Authority. Contact a solicitor about legal advice. REMEMBER .


Keep cool and calm.
Carry a pen and pad and use it to log times, dates, names and numbers of officers, etc.
Get a dictaphone and use when talking to an officer.
Inform the Advance Party of any arrest or confiscation.
Always complain and / or sue if the police exercise unlawful powers.
Don’t get drawn into confrontation — this simply gives them the sort of evidence they can use.



Access to Legal Aid is being restricted, and often Legal Aid applications are refused, especially for appeals against court decisions. Some lawyers have found that an ‘oral hearing appeal’ given at the Area Committee for Legal Aid Appeals can reverse the decision. In London it’s in Red Lion Square, High Holborn. This is time consuming and the lawyer doesn’t get paid for doing it but if a lawyer is on the case, and gets legal aid for you then it’s worth it.


CASE HISTORY: Tony Stokoe, Solicitor, and the Teknoval, Abingdon.

Don’t forget, your lawyer is your representative. Don’t leave it all up to them! Question, discuss, plan with them, and if you are not satisfied, change them! The Advance party has always tried to recommend tried, tested and true solicitors, but if you don’t tell us how things went then we could be giving credibility to those who don’t deserve it. NETWORK THE EXPERIENCE!



Tony Stokoe 0181 549 4282 ( After 5.30 — 0973 119 364) 4 Clifton Road, Kingston, Surrey KT26PW. E-mail address; 100 625.1241#Compuserve.Com
Greg Powell 0171 624 8888 ( After 5.30 — 01459 118 181) 290 Kilburn High Rd, London NW6 2DD.
Mike Shwartz 0171 833 4433 ( After 5.30 — 01459 136 205) 275 Greys Inn Rd, London WC1X 8QF
Pete Silver 0171 209 5000 ( After 5.30 — 01459 127 774) 52 Malden Rd, London NW5 3HG
WE NEED MORE SOLICITORS!!!!! (Especially outta London).


Legal Defence and Monitoring Group. 0181 802 9804. — BM Box Haven, London WC1N 3XX. (can do legal monitoring. Give “em as much notice as possible).


Barristers Chambers.(Radical crew!) 0171 797 7766. — A. M. N. Shaw, 4 Brick Court, Temple, London EC4Y 9AD.


Release. 0171 729 9904.(After 5.30 — 0171 603 8654 ) 388 Old St., London EC1.(mainly drug offences, but generally good for advice and lawyers.)


Liberty. 0171 403 3888.– 21 Tabard St .,London SE1 4LA.


Advisory Service for Squatters. 0171 359 8814.– 2 St. Pauls Rd., London N1 2QN. 2pm-6pm daily.Excellent practical advice for all things squatting.(see section re; `exempt persons’)


Friends, Families and Travellers’ Support Group. 01458 832 371.– 7 Benedict St, Glastonbury, Somerset. BA6 9NE.


Traveller Help Line. (01222) 874 580/ 874 368/ 343 066 .– PO Box 427, Cardiff Law School, Museum Avenue, Cardiff CF1 1XD.


New Group set up to help in the Police Station when arrested, the Police Station Defence Service,(PSDS). Contact thru Tony Stokoe.


**** Remember that your solicitor hires the barrister when necessary. Discuss it with them


[Special thanks to Francis Orchovar of A.M.N. Shaw Barristers Chambers, Tony Stokoe and Kris Gledhill, Barrister (see listings)].


‘Get up stan’ up, stan’ up for your rights, get up stan’ up, don’t give up the fight, .. But if you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on Earth, an’ now we see the light, we stan’ up for our rights……’

‘…….you can fool some people sometimes but you can’t fool all the people all the time..’