You are here:

#ZachsLaw: world leading legislation

Published on


#ZachsLaw: world leading legislation

In September 2023, the Online Safety Bill, including Zach's Law, was passed. This is a huge win for all of us at the Epilepsy Society, and especially for Zach.

The new legislation is named after 12-year-old Zach Eagling, a young schoolboy with epilepsy and cerebral palsy, who was just eight when he became one of the first victims of a malicious online attack.

It is the first time in the UK, and to the best of our understanding in the world, that legislation has been written specifically to safeguard people with epilepsy and will mean anyone who posts flashing images with intent to trigger a seizure could face a five-year prison sentence. 

This is the culmination of three years of campaigning by the Epilepsy Society, Zach and his mum, Claire Keer. Although Zach's Law was included in the Online Safety Bill in December 2022, a further nine months of scrutiny in both the House of Commons and House of Lords followed before the Bill itself was passed.

You can view a video about our Zach's Law journey.  


How it was announced

In the House of Commons, Paul Scully, minister for tech and the digital economy, pledged that there would be a separate, standalone offence for epilepsy trolling - a true global first. Zach's Law was subsequently included in the Online Safety Bill and was approved by the House of Lords in 2023.

Scully's announcement was praised by the Epilepsy Society, Zach Eagling and a cross-party coalition of MPs. 

What is Zach's Law?

The Online Safety Bill is legislation which includes measures to keep UK users safe online. It will make social media companies more responsible for their users’ safety on their platforms and will tackle issues including promotion of self-harm and cyberflashing. 

For many years, people with epilepsy were targeted by internet trolls sending malicious flashing images with the deliberate intent to trigger a seizure. We understand the emotional and physical harm this caused for people with epilepsy. One of the people targeted was a eight-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and epilepsy called Zach.

Zach Eagling

Zach was doing a sponsored walk - his first unaided - for the Epilepsy Society when he was targeted by online bullies. The Epilepsy Society has campaigned since 2020 for the Online Safety Bill to criminalise the sending of flashing images and GIFs aimed at causing seizures and harming people with epilepsy. We have called this campaign #ZachsLaw. In December 2022, the Government agreed to include Zach's Law in the Online Safety Bill. In September 2023, the Bill passed and became the law of the land.

We were also in contact with a number of social media platforms to work to reduce risk to people with epilepsy online, including Twitter, TikTok, GIPHY, Tenor and Facebook.

The campaign 

Prior to the Government's announcement in December 2022 that Zach's Law would be enacted, the Epilepsy Society enjoyed a number of other campaign wins, including:

  • In July 2021, the Law Commission backed Zach's Law in their report Modernising Communications Offences (PDF opens in new tab). This was a crucial step in securing Zach's Law. Once we had the backing of the Commission, which reviews existing law and recommends new laws, we knew that politicians were more likely to listen to - and understand - our campaign. The report stated:

"We recommend that the intentional sending of flashing images to a person with epilepsy with the intention to cause that person to have a seizure should be made an offence."

  • Following this, the Joint Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill, an important cross-party parliamentary committee set up to scrutinise online legislation, also backed Zach's Law. And in January 2022, the Culture Select Committee gave Zach's Law its seal of approval.
  • We hosted an online safety roundtable (video below), attended by both Conservative and Labour MPs
  • We were featured in national newspapers including the Daily Express and Metro (opens in
  • To cap it off, in June 2022 the Zach's Law campaign won both a Mark of Excellence award at the CIPR Excellence awards and Best Advocacy Campaign at the Purpose awards. And, in September 2022 we won Campaigning Team of the Year at the Charity Times awards. 
  • In October 2022, Zach met with 11 MPs in Parliament, all of whom were thrilled to meet him and thank him for his tireless campaigning 

The campaign was mentioned several times in Parliament, including by MPs Suzanne WebbDean Russell and Kim Leadbeater.

Zach and 11 MPs

Photo by Lorne Campbell, Guzelian lr

World leading legislation

Paul Scully MP, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy:

"It beggars believe when depraved individuals target people with epilepsy by sending flashing images. I pay tribute to courageous Zach and the Epilepsy Society for their tireless efforts for change."

Claire Keer, Zach's mum:

"When Zach was first attacked on Twitter by internet trolls sending flashing images to try to trigger a seizure, I could not believe how mindless and malicious people could be.

" But my faith in humanity has been completely restored by the unfailing support we have received. I've been so proud of Zach as figurehead of the Epilepsy Society's campaign to make the law on this barbaric behaviour fit for the 21st century."

Clare Pelham, Chief Executive, Epilepsy Society: 

"This is the first specific law introduced to protect the 600,000 with epilepsy. This is world-leading legislation."

Latest updates

Zach’s Law - how it happened

An 11-year-old boy from Liversedge may seem a long way from the legislative procedure that determines our laws in Parliament. But Zach Eagling is an old hand when it comes to legal issues.

For almost a quarter of his life Zach has been meeting politicians and policy makers as he has fought to change the law to protect people who, like him, have epilepsy.

Minister promises trolls who target people with epilepsy could face prison

Today (Tuesday 19 April 2022), the Online Safety Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons. This is a chance for MPs to debate this most important piece of legislation in the internet age. The Epilepsy Society is pleased to have the support of Minister Chris Philp in backing our Zach’s Law campaign to tackle internet trolls who target people with epilepsy in order to trigger seizures. 


We send monthly e-newsletters to keep you informed with tips for managing epilepsy, the latest news, inspirational stories, fundraising opportunities and further information from Epilepsy Society.

Read our privacy policy

It is always your choice as to whether you want to receive information from us. You may opt-out of our marketing communications by clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ link at the end of our marketing emails or through our unsubscribe number 01494 601 300.