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Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal in row over Public Spaces Protection order and abortion clinic ‘buffer zone’

The Supreme Court yesterday refused an application for permission to appeal in a dispute over the lawfulness of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) that created a ‘safe zone’ around an abortion clinic.

The London Borough of Ealing introduced the PSPO in April 2018. It prohibits protests, prayer vigils and ‘pavement counselling’ outside the Marie Stopes Clinic.

In August last year the Court of Appeal dismissed the claimants’ appeal and upheld the PSPO in full in Dulgheriu v LB of Ealing [2019] EWCA Civ 1490.

In refusing the application for permission to appeal, the Supreme Court (Lord Reed, Lord Carnwath and Lady Black) held that the application did not raise an arguable point of law.

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Cornerstone Barristers said the Supreme Court panel’s decision meant that the PSPO would remain in place outside the clinic until it expires in April 2021, at which time Ealing may consider whether or not to make a further PSPO.

Ranjit Bhose QC, Kuljit Bhogal and Tara O'Leary of Cornerstone Barristers represented Ealing throughout the process of consulting on and making its PSPO, and in defending this challenge through the courts.

The set said that the London Borough of Waltham Forest had recently issued a Community Protection Notice in respect of an anti-abortion protest which had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality. An appeal against the CPN has been heard by the Magistrates' Court and judgment is awaited.

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