The second chapter considers the development of breach of the peace since the time of the institutional writer Baron David Hume, in the mid-19th century. In Hume’s era, a central element of breach of the peace was fighting or quarrelling in public – behaviour falling short of rioting or mobbing, but nonetheless with the potential to cause public disorder, in the sense of causing the general public to be alarmed by the prospect of further violence and unrest. This suggests a relatively narrow focus for the crime. However, the courts greatly expanded its ambit by stressing the need to quell behaviours which were ‘disorderly’ in a broader sense. This chapter describes these developments.
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