Couple of things at play. If you are standing in a public space you can photograph anything you can see (there are some limitations around certain sites and buildings in the UK) * You can still be sued however, for breach of privacy, for example, and a court may find against you. * For example, you have a legal right to be able to stand on a street and photograph people walking out of a building, if that building is hosting an AA meeting, you could be sued and you may lose. * You may be in breach of local bylaws. * You may be causing an obstruction. * What you think is public may not be public. For the rest, Geren is correct, there are public rights of away, and there is open access land, and then there are private rights of way (easements). The latter are not public, and you should use them only to access another location. Open access land has some restrictions, and land owners can probably prevent things like commercial photography. Edit: I am not a lawyer, or a Baron (so the Magna Carta doesn't help).