Archive for April 28th, 2011

While I am more than happy for those who believe in what they believe to continue to do so without fear of harassment – I am not too keen on the idea that any religion should be a foundation or principle of consideration – in the promulgation or application of our law.

I read an article in the Law Society Gazette by Andrea Minichiello Williams this morning.

Ms Williams states… “I believe Christians are seeing the beginnings of persecution in the UK because, as a nation, we have forgotten our history, our heritage and our Christian foundations. For hundreds of years most of the great advances in public life, in health care, education and social provision, came as a result of Christian conviction that cares for the good of all. Social trends have come and gone, but the Christian foundations of our country are what have maintained true tolerance within our society, the dignity of every human being and great public service.”

While she makes good points about discrimination, these are, surely, already addressed by legislation?   I can see no justification, in a largely secular state, for any religion, to be given specific protection and I certainly do not feel comfortable with suggestions that sharia or jewish (or any other religious) codes be permitted to stand alongside or, worse, above our own common and parliamentary enacted law.

I am not prepared to accept at face value Ms Williams’ bald assertion…“The secular movement is a variant of the man-made philosophies that failed in the last Century – humanism, fascism, communism.”  I am not at all convinced that most atheists or secularists, for want of a better word, have been influenced by any ‘movement’, or wish to join such a ‘movement’.

Laws should be enacted for the benefit of society as a whole.  I would hope that our law makers and judges put aside their specific religious beliefs – which are not followed by the majority in this country – when enacting or applying our laws?

The UK Human Rights blog has an interesting post on Facebook and contempt of court….

Silence please: A Facebook contempt of court – allegedly

Heresy Corner – a blog well worth reading, particularly if you are a lawyer, has an extraordinary piece today…

Charging Alfie Meadows

The news that Alfie Meadows, the student who suffered a near-fatal brain injury during last December’s central London protest, is to be charged (along with several others) with the serious crime of “violent disorder”, has been greeted with predictable outrage on Twitter and elsewhere. It was my reaction, too, late last night….
To strike a topically Orwellian note, this chilling prosecution (it seemed to me) summons up a future of a boot stamping repeatedly on a human face – and then putting the face on trial for boot-obstruction.


Premier Grand Cru blogging from Carl Gardner on  John Hemming MP and breaking of superinjunctions

John Hemming, sub judice and the public interest: “no abuse of parliamentary procedure?”

On a similar note… The Ministry of Truth states….

Hemming is, in my opinion, wholly unfit to hold public office and his actions yesterday stand as a flagrant and unacceptable abuse of parliamentary privilege.

I am with Carl Gardner on this one.  I would prefer Mr Hemming to focus his attention on breaking superinjunctions where there is (a) a legitimate public interest, and (b) where there is no risk of ‘sensitive’ issues of family law being compromised?

Lord Neuberger MR is soon to publish a paper on the use of superinjunctions.  I doubt if the recommendations will include ‘abolition’, but we shall see soon enough.  The  issues of privacy law and libel reform (sometimes conflated  by the press and others) both need parliamentary attention.

Joshua Rozenberg, writing in The Law Society Gazette, has a thoughtful piece and sums up the point with the title of his article: Privacy law, not injunctions, should be on press’s agenda

It is not the injunctions that the press should be attacking, nor the judges who are bound to grant them.

It is the law of privacy, developed by the courts with parliament’s acquiescence.

Lord Irvine, the lord chancellor, alerted parliament when he introduced what became the Human Rights Act, requiring our judges to take account of European court rulings on the human rights convention.

Irvine told the Lords on 24 November 1997 that ‘the judges are pen-poised, regardless of incorporation of the convention, to develop a right to privacy’.

Irvine stressed that the judges were free to develop the common law in this direction.

The issue as ever, perhaps an issue which cannot be reconciled easily, is the balancing of freedom of the press and a right to privacy when conduct is not ‘a matter of public interest’.

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