What is a Legal Observer?
Legal Observers are individuals who attend protests, demonstrations, or direct actions to observe and record law enforcement actions towards protesters. Legal Observers do not act as part of the protest, but carefully document the actions of the police with the goal of later using that information as an objective account of the events in criminal or civil legal cases. Legal Observers are identifiable by neon green hats that say “National Lawyers Guild.”
Legal Observers are present to monitor police behavior, not the behavior of protesters. Legal Observers are not protest marshals or “peace police.” We do not tell protesters what to do, what not to do, or tone-police their messages.
What is the purpose and benefit of arranging a Legal Observer with NLG?
The Legal Observer® program is part of a comprehensive system of legal support by our Mass Defense Committee designed to enable people to express their political views as fully as possible without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the police and with the fewest possible consequences from the criminal justice system. The presence of Legal Observers® may serve as a deterrent to unconstitutional behavior by law enforcement during a demonstration. If Legal Observers witness an arrest, they are able to quickly relay that information to our volunteer attorneys to coordinate jail support, preserve evidence, and provide information.
What are the eligibility requirements for organizations seeking Legal Observers at an event?
Community members can request Legal Observers for protests, demonstrations, or direct actions. The NLG does not enforce parameters on the types of tactics protesters use. The NLG seeks to function as an effective force in the service of the people by valuing human rights over property interests. We do not accept LO requests for events that advance platforms contrary to our mission.
Who can become a Legal Observer?
Anyone who fills out our volunteer form, is vetted and approved by the Legal Observer coordinators, and attends a local NLG Utah training. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved! Becoming an NLG member is encouraged but not required. NLG offers a sliding scale membership fee model (https://www.nlg.org/join/).
How do I request Legal Observers?
To the extent our resources allow, the Utah Chapter provides Legal Observer support to the activist community. There are no fees or costs associated with this service; it is strictly volunteer-driven.
- Please fill out the following form to request NLG Utah legal observers. We will respond to your request as soon as possible, letting you know if we are able to attend. https://form.jotform.com/202457758177062
If your request is urgent, please indicate the urgency in the subject line of your email.