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Information security

Ensure the safety of information, The Legal Support Team is likely to have access to information - such as statements about police violence, footage of police behaviour - which may be controversial and needs to be properly protected. Protecting this information requires making sure that information is subject to legal professional privilege as well as taking material steps to ensure its safety - such as keeping information in locked spaces, having duplicates or backups of important files etc. Much of this is common sense - don’t leave delicate information unprotected or lying around!

Establish processes from the beginning about how the Legal Support Team will protect information collected. Consider having a support law firm or community legal centre state that they are the lawyers on the record for any issues arising out of the protest (whether criminal or civil) and thus that they consider all protesters as potential client, and all material collected by the Legal Support Team or Legal Observers as privileged and protected as part of their client’s case.

If you are taking statements from protesters, attempt to establish a lawyer/client relationship as soon as possible (that is ask them to sign a retainer, authority to act or both) so that any statements taken or material collected is subject to legal professional privilege. Again, approach supportive legal firms or community legal centre to request whether they are happy to enter into such relationship with protesters.

Also see Activist security resources