(168)  Breach of the peace and human rights

On 31 July 2001 the High Court of Justiciary (Lords Coulsfield, Osborne and Caplan) ruled that the principal authorities on the matter defined the crime of breach of the peace with sufficient certainty as to comply with Article 7 (no punishment without law) of the European Convention on Human Rights (Smith v Donnelly 2001 SLT 1007, a case arising out of the accused’s behaviour during a demonstration outside the naval base at Faslane).  For an earlier discussion of the issue, see P R Ferguson, Breach of the peace and the European Convention on Human Rights”