Necessity, Non-Violent Direct Activism, and the Stansted 15: Reasserting ‘Hoffmann's Bargain’

Steven Cammiss*, Graeme Hayes, Brian Doherty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In Thacker and ors the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of the ‘Stansted 15’ due to a misdirection on the substantive offence. However, the court rejected their necessity defence, following Jones, as their actions were political, outweighing a desire to avoid a risk of death or serious injury; in a ‘functioning democratic state’ their claims should have been pursued through conventional means. This is a reaffirmation of what we call ‘Hoffmann's Bargain’; in Jones, Lord Hoffmann noted that non-violent protestors who act proportionately can expect the state to act with restraint, but a necessity defence is unavailable. We argue that this rejection of the defence is mistaken and overly broad for direct action cases. It also fails to acknowledge Valderamma-Vega, where the Court of Appeal held that defendants who claim duress may act for different motives as long as one is the avoidance of death or serious injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1515-1533
JournalModern Law Review
Issue number6
Early online date23 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021, The Authors. The Modern Law Review © 2021 The Modern Law Review Limited.This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Cammiss, S., Hayes, G. & Doherty, D. (2022) "Necessity, Non-Violent Direct Activism, and the Stansted 15: Reasserting 'Hoffmann's Bargain'", Modern Law Review, 85 (6), pgs. 1515-1533, which has been published in final form at []. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.


Dive into the research topics of 'Necessity, Non-Violent Direct Activism, and the Stansted 15: Reasserting ‘Hoffmann's Bargain’'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this