Speakers’ Corners are public spaces over which a Speakers’ Corner Committees have no jurisdiction. Committees therefore cannot make (much less police) enforceable ‘rules’ – and may in any event consider that framing regulations about the conduct of free expression would be inappropriate.
It should also be remembered that citizens are already free to express themselves in any public place in the UK so long as they do so within the law. The same applies to Speakers’ Corners: citizens are entitled to express their opinions but have no greater rights there than anywhere else. In other words, they must abide by the law.
However, Speakers’ Corner Committees may wish to adopt brief Codes of Conduct as simple reminders to people using Speakers’ Corners of the need to behave considerately and cooperatively, within the spirit of the Speakers’ Corner initiative.
The model Code below is based on those adopted in Nottingham and Lichfield and used at the Speakers’ Corner which SCT and Central St Martins College of Art & Design created for the Marketplace of Ideas at the Global Forum on Freedom of Expression in Oslo in June 2009.
The Code and other advice to speakers can of course be adapted to meet local circumstances. For example, both Nottingham and Lichfield request that they do not use amplification as a courtesy to those who live or work close to the sites.
The Speakers’ Corner Model Code
Speakers’ Corner is your platform. You may use it to express any view, idea or opinion, so long as it is lawful. There are no rules but you are asked to observe the following code:
- Please don’t use offensive language
- Please respect alternative opinions
- Please show courtesy to other speakers and members of the public
- If others are waiting, please limit your time to a maximum of 10 minutes
Use this site to engage, inform and enrich opinion
– and wherever possible, entertain!