Marches, parades and static demonstrations: guidance

This publication sets out the key duties and responsibilities for local authorities facilitating marches, parades and protests in Scotland. It provides guidance and highlights best practice for all key parties involved.

1: Introduction

This document offers guidance and best practice on holding marches, parades and static demonstrations in Scotland.

It sets out the duties and responsibilities of public authorities in Scotland – mainly, but not only, local authorities and Police Scotland – whose principal aims are to provide appropriate assistance and co-ordination to facilitate a safe and orderly event which minimises the inevitable impacts on the wider community.

It explains the duties and responsibilities of organisers of such assemblies, and how they, too, can help to facilitate the safe and proportionate exercise of their rights of assembly.

It sets out:

  • the key laws relating to marches and parades
  • what local authorities need to take account of when assessing notifications to hold a march or parade
  • the (limited) circumstances in which a local authority may prohibit a march/parade from taking place or place special conditions on it, and the steps they should take when considering these issues.

The guidance also explores one of the most complex safety issues around public assembly: making any necessary and appropriate arrangements to facilitate the regulation of traffic.

This document is guidance and users should seek their own legal advice as to how to meet the legal obligations under the relevant legislation.

1.1 Types of assembly

This guidance addresses two broad types of peaceful assembly: marches, parades and processions (which move along a particular route) and static demonstrations (which assemble at a particular point and do not move from it).

Examples of marches, parades and processions might include protest marches (relating, for example, to a factory closure or major political decision), Loyal Order parades, Irish Republican parades, Remembrance Day parades and Pride marches.

Examples of static assemblies might include a service at a war memorial, a protest at a public square or outside a public building, or a counter-demonstration to another assembly.

1.2 Who should read this guidance?

This guidance is intended to help local authorities carry out their key functions in relation to marches and parades. However, it is also hoped that this guidance will provide information to all key parties to any march, parade or static demonstration – not only the local authority, but Police Scotland, traffic authorities, march, parade or static demonstration organisers and participants, and the general public. It therefore sets out the policies and procedures in place for each of these parties, outlines the overarching human rights framework in which public bodies operate, and offers examples of best practice.



Back to top