First Tuesday: Janet Allen. The Miners Strike 1984/85 – my role as newly qualified solicitor with Thompsons
7 April 2020 @ 19:00
In an effort to defeat the striking miners the government, judiciary and police used the law as a method of reducing the civil liberties of striking miners and their supporters by all possible means.
Road blocks were employed to intercept suspected pickets. Those arrested on the picket line faced draconian bail conditions often including curfews to prevent further demonstrations. Medieval charges of riot and unlawful assembly were used against those attending the mass pickets at both Orgreave and Mansfield.
Mike Mansfield the leading barrister at the Orgreave trials referred to the cases as “the worst example of mass frame up in this country in this century”.
I joined Thompsons in September 1983 and Bill Etherington, then General Secretary of the Durham Colliery Mechanics Association instructed Thompsons to be the union lawyers. The Durham NUM followed later. I represented two Durham Mechanics arrested at Orgreave and one at Mansfield.
My day to day experience of representing striking miners during the period from March 1984 to March 1985 will form the basis of this presentation.