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Case details

Director of Public Prosecutions (Respondent) v Ziegler and others (Appellants)

Case ID: UKSC 2019/0106

Case summary


In criminal proceedings arising out of protest activity: (1) is deliberate physically obstructive conduct by protesters capable of constituting a lawful excuse for the purposes of s.137 of the Highways Act 1980?; and (2) what is the test to be applied by an appellate court to an assessment of the decision of the trial court in respect of a statutory defence of ‘lawful excuse’ when Convention rights are engaged in a criminal matter?


The Appellants took part in a demonstration protesting the Defence and Security International weapons fair at the Excel Centre. They were charged with obstructing the highway, contrary to section 137 Highways Act 1980. They were acquitted at Trial because their actions fell within the "lawful authority or excuse" defence contained in section 137 Highways Act 1980. The Director for Public Prosecutions appealed successfully by way of case stated to the High Court. The Appellants now appeal to the Supreme Court.

Judgment appealed

[2019] EWHC 71



Ziegler and others


Director of Public Prosecutions



Lord Hodge, Lady Arden, Lord Sales, Lord Hamblen, Lord Stephens

Hearing start date

12 January 2021

Hearing finish date

12 January 2021

Watch hearing
12 Jan 2021 Morning session Afternoon session

Future Judgment Update

Please note that appeal in the matter of Director of Public Prosecutions (Respondent) v Ziegler and others (Appellants) has been heard by the Supreme Court and is currently awaiting judgment.

As soon as the judgment hand-down date is confirmed, it will be published on the Future judgments page of this website. As a very broad indication, judgments tend to follow between three to nine months after the conclusion of the appeal hearing, although in some cases it may be earlier than that. Information about judgment hand-downs is usually announced one week in advance. We are unable to give any indication of the likely hand-down date for judgments not listed on the Future judgments page.