What does the law require?

If you intend to hold a procession in a public place (such as a march, parade or similar event) the law requires you to notify the Council and the Police. You must do so no less than 28 days prior to the event.

Similar events may include: 

  • Races, fun runs and sponsored walks
  • Processions or races involving horses, cycles, boats or other vehicles
  • Gala day parades and street parties
  • Demonstrations and protests
  • Displays and promotions

If you are in any doubt whether your event should be notified to the Council you should contact the Licensing team.

What do I need to consider?

If you cannot provide us with 28 days' notice of your procession, you should apply for an exemption. However we can only make an exemption in exceptional circumstances.

The European Convention of Human Rights gives a 'right to freedom of peaceful assembly', and the Council has a positive obligation to protect that right. However that right can be restricted, for example to protect public safety or prevent disorder. The Council cannot prohibit a procession simply because some people may be offended by it.

The issues we will consider are:

  • The likely effect of the holding of the procession in relation to:
    1. Public safety
    2. Public order
    3. Damage to property
    4. Disruption of the life of the community
  • The extent to which the containment of risks arising from the procession would place an excessive burden on the police;
  • Where the organiser has previously held a procession in our area (or the people likely to take part in the procession took part in a previous procession), whether the procession took place lawfully and in accordance with any conditions imposed on it.

How will you deal with my application?

You will need to send us two documents no less than 28 days prior to the event: 

  1. A Notice of Proposal to Hold a Public Procession (also called a notification)
  2. A Risk Assessment form

You should plan your procession well in advance and give us a notification that accurately describes your event. You should assume that we will not accept any changes to your notification within the 28 day notice period although we may do so at our discretion, especially if the change results in a reduced risk to the public.

Although you need only give us 28 days' notice of the event, we would encourage you to give us more notice if possible. This will allow you to receive a decision from us well in advance of your event. 

We will publicise all notifications on this web page. We will also write to all persons and organisations who have asked to join our 'opt in' list to receive information about planned processions.

Anyone wishing to object to a procession or make representations to us should do so within 14 days of its publication.

If we need to arrange a meeting with the organiser, officers from the Council and the Police will normally meet with the organiser within seven days of receiving the notification. The Police will normally send us a report within seven days of that meeting.

If your application is deemed non-contentious, we should be able to approve your procession without referring the decision to the Licensing Committee. 'Non-contentious' means any application which has not resulted in any objections, or representations of a serious nature, and where is no conflict with council policy. Contentious applications will be determined by the Licensing Committee.

We will require you to comply with our Guidance and Code of Conduct on Public Processions. We may attach additional conditions to the holding of the procession, and we may take action to ensure that you comply with those conditions.

When will a decision be made?

Whilst you may notify us about your procession as late as 28 days before it is due to take place, we would ask you to notify us as early as possible. Your application will take longer to process if we need to arrange a meeting with Police Scotland, or if it becomes contentious (for example, if we receive objections or representations), and if that is the case we will keep you informed of the revised timescale. We will always notify you of our decision at least two days before the proposed date of the public procession.

What happens if you don't make a decision within the target time?

If you have still not received a decision after the target time has expired, your authorisation is not granted automatically. In such a situation, we will get in touch with you to let you know what happens next.

Please note that you must not hold the public procession unless or until we have told you that it can go ahead.

What can I do if I'm not satisfied?

If you are unhappy with the way we have processed your notification please contact us.

How does the Council handle objections and representations?

Find out more about objections and representations.