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Law and Disorder: Examining the Riot Compensation Act 2016

by Allianz

Law and Disorder: Examining the Riot Compensation Act 2016

It’s been six years since the UK experienced four days of widespread looting, assault, arson and mugging as part of the London riots in August 2011. What originally began as a peaceful protest culminated in five deaths, 4,000 arrests and insurance pay-outs of £200 million.

A 128-year-old law

The riots and their repercussions flagged the inadequacy of the existing legislation, the Riot (Damages) Act 1886, which excluded cover for commodities such as vehicles, computers and work equipment – items either in their infancy or not invented at the time of the Act’s inception. Also lacking was clarity around cover for consequential loss, and the interruption to businesses incurred as a direct result of the damage. It was apparent that the law needed bringing into the 21st century.

The new Act

When the Riot Compensation Act 2016 was granted Royal Assent on 23 March 2016 and came into force on 6 April 2017, it sought to clarify and modernise the legislation related to riot-related compensation. Updating the definition of what constitutes a riot seemed a logical place to start and the wording was changed to reflect the Public Order Act 1986, referencing "12 or more persons, who… use or threaten unlawful violence"1. It also repealed the incumbent Riot (Damages) Act 1886 and introduced a number of features.

Read more about legislation relating to riots