Press release: 14 April 2024 As the Solicitor General applies to commit Trudi Warner to prison, hundreds to gather outside every Crown Court in England and Wales

From the 13th-21st April, hundreds of people are expected to gather outside every single Crown Court across England and Wales to uphold the principle of jury equity, i.e. the right of a jury to acquit a defendant as a matter of conscience, even if a judge directs that there is no defence.

Application to commit Trudi Warner to prison to be heard this week.

On the 18th of April, the Solicitor General’s application to commit Trudi Warner to prison will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice. 

In March 2023, as Judge Silas Reid banned defendants in climate trials from explaining their motivations to the jury, and sent three people to prison just for using the words ‘climate change’ in court, Trudi Warner, a retired social worker and legal observer, was moved to hold up a sign outside Inner London Crown Court, communicating the vital democratic principle ‘Jurors have an absolute right to acquit a defendant according to their conscience’. 

In response, Judge Reid had Trudi Warner arrested for contempt of court. On 18th April, at the Royal Courts of Justice, the Solicitor General, Robert Courts MP, will apply for permission to commit her to prison for her action.

Professor Richard Vogler wrote on 27 September:

“George Orwell noticed the tendency of repressive law to degenerate into farce, when truth becomes a lie and common sense is heresy. This is worth remembering now that the solicitor general has concluded that it is right to take action against … Trudi Warner, for holding up a sign outside a criminal court, simply proclaiming one of the fundamental principles of the common law: the right of a jury to decide a case according to its conscience.”

Hundreds say ‘prosecute us too’

Since March 2023, hundreds of people have replicated Trudi Warner’s action at courts around the country, and in February this year 300 people handed in a letter inviting the Solicitor General to prosecute them too. Now, the first national week of action organised by the Defend Our Juries campaign will present the High Court with a dilemma, either force the government and judiciary into an embarrassing u-turn, or grant the solicitor general’s application, and face the prospect of hundreds of people being locked up in Britain’s overcrowded and underfunded prisons, simply for holding up signs that accurately states a vital principle of law and democracy.

A spokesperson for the Defend Our Juries Campaign said:

“This week, our message to the government and courts is simple: Trudi Warner is not alone in asserting a fundamental principle of justice, if you are prosecuting Trudi Warner, you must prosecute us too.”

UN Special Rapporteur watches UK closely

On Friday 12th April, Trudi Warner’s story was heard at a conference organised by Lawyers Are Responsible and Queen Mary University of London, attended by leading lawyers, academics, health workers and frontline activists. 

Michel Forst, the UN Special Rapporteur for environmental defenders, delivered a scathing statement to the conference via video. He noted:

“In January 2024, I was in London for a couple of days to meet with environmental defenders and Government representatives. I had been travelling to many different countries before that. And I had received many concerning reports of the crackdown on environmental defenders in these countries. But I must say, I had not seen a situation as concerning as the one in the UK.” 

“Since [my last visit], the situation does not seem to have improved.”

Notes for editors

Press contact: 07795 316164 / 07958275270


Images will be added here throughout the week

Further context on Trudi Warner

Protestors must be allowed to explain motives in court” (The Times, 13 March 2023)

Activists jailed for seven weeks for defying ban on mentioning climate crisis” (openDemocracy, 3 March 2023)

We are All Trudi Warner! Promoting the Rights of Jurors in the Twenty First Century” (The Barrister, September 2023)

International response

The right to protest is under threat in Britain, undermining a pillar of democracy” (Associated Press, December 2023)

Report of UN Special Rapporteur, January 2024

About Defend our Juries:

Defend Our Juries has the following aims:

  1. to bring to public attention the programme to undermine trial by jury in the context of those taking action to expose government dishonesty and corporate greed
  2. to raise awareness of the vital constitutional safeguard that juries can acquit a defendant as a matter of conscience, irrespective of a judge’s direction that there is no available defence (a principle also known as ‘jury equity’ or ‘jury nullification‘)
  3. to ensure that all defendants have the opportunity to explain their actions when their liberty is at stake, including by explaining their motivations and beliefs.