In the case of Eiseman Renyard and Others v United Kingdom (2019) Application no. 57884/17, the European Court of Human Rights has declined to disturb the decision of the Supreme Court in R (Hicks) v Comr Metropolitan Police UKSC 9;  AC 256, concerning the arrest and detention of royal wedding protesters, for breach of the peace.
As stated in the blog post discussing the decision of the Supreme Court, the police arrested a number of individuals on 29th April 2011, which was the day of the royal wedding, took them into police custody and released them without charge once the pageant was over. The justification was that the arrests were said to be necessary to prevent an imminent breach of the peace – the violent disruption of the wedding. No-one was brought before a court as foreseen by Article 5(1)(c) of the Convention.
Many police practitioners will pause on learning that they are instructed in a case involving an arrest for breach of the peace. The reason being – that the law on when an arrest can be made is not always well understood by arresting officers. That is not to be discourteous to the police. Rather, it is a recognition of how complicated this issue can be. The Supreme Court in the case of R (Hicks) v Comr Metropolitan Police  UKSC 9 gives some assistance to the police where they seek to arrest persons in light of an imminent breach of the peace and provides a simpler statement of the law than did the Court of Appeal.
Can pre-emptive detention, purely to prevent a person committing an offence or a breach of the peace, where they have not yet committed an offence, be lawful under Article 5 of the ECHR? In R (Hicks) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWCA Civ 3 the Court of Appeal has said, “yes”: it may be lawful under Article 5(1)(c), provided that at the time of the arrest there is an intention to take the arrested person before the courts. It may also be lawful under 5(1)(b) in certain circumstances, not closely defined in the judgment.