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The Right to Freedom of Assembly: A comparative study

The Right to Freedom of Assembly: A comparative study

By Orsolya Salát

In legal decisions and commentary, freedom of assembly is widely cherished as a precious human right and as indispensable for the preservation of democratic governance. But despite this rhetoric assemblies are subject to extensive regulation, such as prior restraints, and restrictions on the time, place and manner of assemblies.

Human Rights 

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  • Full description

    In legal decisions and commentary, freedom of assembly is widely cherished as a precious human right and as indispensable for the preservation of democratic governance. But despite this rhetoric assemblies are subject to extensive regulation, such as prior restraints, and restrictions on the time, place and manner of assemblies. In legal decisions and commentary, freedom of assembly is widely cherished as a precious human right and as indispensable for the preservation of democratic governance. But despite this rhetoric assemblies are subject to extensive regulation, such as prior restraints, and restrictions on the time, place and manner of assemblies. 

    This comparative study examines five influential jurisdictions and reveals similarities and inconsistencies between them. It finds that freedom of assembly is often subjugated to freedom of expression in a way that disregards the expressive potential of assemblies. The shortcomings include the misconstrued content neutrality and public forum doctrines in the US, blanket bans and other restrictions based on intangible and distant harm in the UK, preventative restrictions and viewpoint discrimination in Germany, and the uncertain status of freedom of assembly and opaque judicial reasoning in France. Such inconsistencies also present challenges for the European Court of Human Rights in developing a coherent assembly doctrine. The book argues that it is time for jurisprudence to move away from a narrowly focused concept of expression, and recognise the creative and expressive value of freedom of assembly.

  • About the author

    Orsolya Salát is an Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Comparative Constitutional Law at the ELTE University, Faculty for Social Sciences, Budapest.

  • Product details

    ISBN: 9781849467216

    Published: 2017

    Format: Hardcover

  • Table of contents

    Introduction 

    I. The Challenge of Freedom of Assembly 
    II. A Concept of Assembly 
    III. Structure 

    Chapter 1: Origins, Forms and Values 

    I. Historical Origins of the Right to Freedom of Assembly 
    II. Meeting, Marching or Speaking: Forms of Assembly 
    III. Fundamental Right, or 'Mere' Common Law Liberty 
    IV. The Value of Freedom of Assembly: Contemporary Judicial Rationales 

    Chapter 2: Prior Restraints, Exemptions and Bargain 

    I. Prior Restraint in General 
    II. Advance Notice or Pemit 
    III. Prior Ban and Conditions 
    IV. Exemptions, Derogations from the Notification Requirement 

    Chapter 3: From Violence to Public Disorder to Crime Prevention 

    I. The Peacefulness Requirement: A Determinant of Scope or a Limit 
    II. The Would-be Disorderly: Judicial Doctrines of Risk-assessment 

    Chapter 4: From Coercion to Direct Action to Disruption 

    I. Nötigung in Germany 
    II. United Kingdom: Disruption, Obstruction and Many More 
    III. United States: Inconsistency Masked by Content-neutrality 
    IV. France: Pressure Inherent in Strike 
    V. European Court of Human Rights: No Violation 

    Chapter 5: Dignity as Peace, Truth and Love 

    I. Germany: Dignity and its Substitute 'Public Peace' 
    II. France: Dignity as Public Order and Officially Declared Truth 
    III. United States: Dignity as Non-Argument 
    IV. United Kingdom: Dignity Under Different Names 
    V. European Court of Human Rights: Hate Speech Chaos 

    Chapter 6: Restrictions on the Time 

    I. Special Days of the Year: The Notion of Public Order in Germany 
    II. Duration, Time Limit, Frequency 

    Chapter 7: Restrictions on the Manner 

    I. Banned and Protected Symbols: Whose Identity? 
    II. Uniforms and Masks: Whose Fear? 
    III. One Man's Noise is Another's Music 
    IV. Modes and Means of Protest as Aesthetic Harm 

    Chapter 8: Restrictions on the Place 

    I. Private Public Places 
    II. Governmental Buildings: Managerial or Authoritarian Protection? 
    III. Memorial Sites: Identity Fight over Collective Memory 
    IV. Designated Zones: Speech Pens, Protest Cages 

    Conclusion 

    I. Specific Comparative Findings 
    II. General Evaluation and Suggestions

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