Home > News > Ealing abortion ‘buffer zone’ found to be lawful

This case (Dulgheriu & Orthova v Ealing LBC [2018] EWHC 1667 (Admin)) involved a challenge to Ealing Council’s decision to implement a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in the vicinity of a local abortion clinic.  The clinic had been the site of protests and other activity on the part of “pro-life” and “pro-choice” groups.  The PSPO imposed a ban on the expression of any views in favour of or against abortion within 150m of the clinic.  This included a ban on prayer in relation to abortion.  The Claimants contended that the Council had no power to implement the PSPO in the circumstances because the clinic users did not amount to ‘those in the locality’ within the meaning of s.59 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (the 2014 Act) and, further, that it amounted to a violation of their rights under Arts. 9, 10 and 11 ECHR.

Giving judgment on 2 July 2018, Turner J found in favour of the Council and refused to quash the PSPO.  He held that the Council was entitled to consider that these people amounted to ‘those in the locality’ regardless of the fact that they could not be shown to be regular visitors to the area. He further held that the interference with the Claimants’ rights was proportionate in light of the interference with the article 8 rights of clinic users.

This is an important case on Arts. 8-11 ECHR and the interpretation of the 2014 Act, particularly in relation to PSPOs, which have been the subject of considerable controversy.  For press reporting see here and here.

Ben Fullbrook appeared as junior counsel for the Claimants.

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