Canary Wharf in London is a privately owned public space.

So far I have been found guilty of walking on a grass and jumping on a stone wall (part of a workout routine).

I'm concerned that sooner or later my attitude don't give a f•••ism will get me banned from the area. I don't the current abilities of the mass surveillance but I could potentially circumvent that with baseball cap and pollution mask.

Jokes aside:

  • do they - http://group.canarywharf.com/about-us/ - have authority over a sovereign man?
  • what if it is their private land?
  • what if it is a public space on their private land?
  • what exactly their private security is entitled to do?

Below attaching screenshot from Google search - some people get frustrated. Before I cross the line I would like to know exactly what my options are.

enter image description here

  • We cannot offer you advice on whether or not a particular action is legal - you have to consult a lawyer for that. You might be able to rephrase your question to ask instead about general legal principles, but do not rely on anything you read here in evaluating the potential legal consequences of any specific actions you might take. Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 23:39
  • 7
    Also, can you clarify what you mean by "sovereign man"? If you are referring to a "sovereign citizen" type of theory, you are likely to get a lot of answers pointing out that such theories are junk; see law.stackexchange.com/questions/35/… Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 23:40
  • @NateEldredge sovereign man - very interesting link, thank you! Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 9:23
  • 'what exactly their private security is entitled to do?' Very difficult to say as in these privately owned public space cases the owner has generally been allowed to keep the rules secret. As I live close by, I will irritate the MP for the area about this.
    – nsandersen
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 12:55
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    @NateEldredge there is no sovereign man in the UK - only a sovereign woman, her name is Elizabeth Windsor
    – Dale M
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 14:16

2 Answers 2


Let's deal with the somewhat misguided notion of "public space": what it means and what it doesn't:

  • "publicly owned" is not equivalent to "public space" - No 10 Downing Street is "publicly owned"; it is not "public space".
  • "privately owned" can be "public space" - the publically accessible parts of shopping malls are privately owned public spaces.
  • "public space" does not mean you have unconditional access. Access may be limited or subject to restrictions placed on it by whoever has lawful authority over it. For example, the aforementioned shopping mall is not public when the mall is closed, roads may be closed for maintenance, street festivities or emergencies etc.

So, people with legal authority over the space can restrict or ban your access if, for example, you repeatedly flaunt the rules that they impose on the space.

Their private security can request that you leave. If you refuse, you are trespassing and subject to arrest, either by security as a citizens arrest or by the police.

  • It might be worth adding something about highways - many of the places where there are extensive rights for members of the public are highways.
    – bdsl
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 7:09
  • 2
    'subject to arrest' may be wrong. Tresspas is not ordinarily a crime in England.
    – bdsl
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 7:11
  • citizen's arrest - interesting concept - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen%27s_arrest Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 9:21
  • @bdsl: aggravated trespass might apply legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/section/68, if patrons can’t enjoy the area with the trespasser there.
    – jmoreno
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 16:42
  • @jmoreno Possibly, but that's quite a specific offence. I don't think a court would consider "enjoyment" to be an activity, to convict the prosecution would have to show that the trespasser was actually deterring by intimidation, obstructing or disrupting some specific lawful activity.
    – bdsl
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 13:28

If you are banned from entering that land in writing then under common law, you are banned from entering that land whilst the ban remains in force. Ignoring that ban could lead to a civil action or even a criminal prosecution against you. A civil action could lead to an injunction being made prohibiting you from entering the land, breach of which will constitute a contempt of court for which you could be fined and/or imprisoned. A criminal prosecution could be made for aggravated trespass, if found guilty for that offence then you could be fined and/or imprisoned. In addition to that, if an application is made by the prosecutor, then the court could consider making a Criminal Behaviour Order against you which would last for a minimum of two years and is unlimited in length. If you breach this order and are subsequently found guilty, then the maximum sentence you could face would be 5 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. I would advise speaking to a civil solicitor if you still wish to trespass on that land.

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