Protect Duty legislation and what it means for businesses who operate in public spaces

May 23, 2022

What does the Protect Duty (Martyn's Law) legislation mean for businesses who operate in public spaces?

In response to the Manchester bombing, campaigns led by the victims' families urged the Government to introduce new legislation known as Protect Duty or Martyn’s Law. In this insight, Specialist Risk Insurance Solutions (SRIS) explores the legislation and the potential impact it will have on businesses operating in public spaces.

During the Governments public consultation, it was highlighted that “there is currently no legislative requirement for organisations to consider or employ security measures at the vast majority of public places”1. Martyn’s Law would place an obligation for those with responsibility for public spaces to implement security measures to protect the public. Central to the law is the idea of ‘proportionality’ as not all venues are the same size, and a one size fits all approach would disproportionately impact smaller businesses and venues.

The consultation defines publicly accessible locations as “any place to which the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission.”1 This is a wide definition and will cover many different venues such as hotels, retail stores, places of education or worship, medical centres, and event spaces and areas utilised for public events such as conferences, exhibitions, or concerts.

Alan Brett of Inperio, a Terrorism insurance partner of SRIS, commented that “Initial proposals suggest that the duty should apply to publicly accessible venues with a capacity of 100 persons or more. The definition will need to be carefully considered when brought into law as sectors impacted are still recovering from the financial impact of COVID restrictions.”2

Clients falling under the remit of the legislation will need to satisfy at minimum five key requirements and be able to demonstrate compliance:

  1. To engage with freely available counter-terrorism advice and training
  2. To conduct vulnerability assessments of operating places and spaces
  3. To mitigate the risks created by these vulnerabilities
  4. To put in place a counter terrorism plan
  5. Local authorities must have a planned response to a terrorism threat


James Woolerton of TriStar Special Risks, another Terrorism insurance partner of SRIS, spoke around some of the key questions clients may be considering given the new legislation3:

  • Does the client understand their duties and their exposures?
  • What coverages, if any, are currently in place and are there any gaps?
  • Is the risk adequately insured from a liability, material damage and business interruption perspective?
  • Are they getting adequate advice from their insurance advisor?
  • In relation to the five key requirements when was the last time these activities were carried out? Can the client demonstrate compliance?
  • When did the client last review their Terrorism insurance cover?

As a specialist insurance broker, we are here to help you understand these considerations to ensure you take the appropriate action to protect your business. Although it remains unclear how this legislation will manage compliance and enforcement, it is clear that non-compliant organisations could face civil penalties and negative public exposure for failing to comply with legislation designed to safeguard the public. This could lead to an increase in demand for Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance to cover this new exposure company directors face.


Working closely with our Terrorism insurance partners, SRIS can help your business prepare for the implementation of this legislation and ensure your business is appropriately protected. We can also provide you with access to our excusive offering with BCarm, which can provide a full analysis of the impact of the legislation and can assist in identifying where and what risk assessments need to be carried out.

To request a confidential review of your existing insurance and risk management programme or to find out more about Terrorism cover, click here.

1Government response document - GOV.UK (
2Alan Brett - Inperio
3James Woolerton - TriStar Special Risks

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