Privacy: Contempt of Court, Injunctions and Parliamentary Privilege

This is the second of three posts examining Privacy law in the UK. The first post examines the development of a law on privacy, its scope and the basic legal theory. This post will look into the application of the law, focussing on contempt of court, the need for injunctions and their application, including orders contra mundum. It will briefly discuss the issue of Parliamentary Privilege. The third post will consider the principle of Open Justice, and  super-, anonymised and hyper- injunctions. Read the rest of this entry »

DNA Databases – A Challenge to the Law

This entry is cross-posted from pirateparty.org.uk.

The Supreme Court, Crown Copyright

Today the Supreme Court gave a long-awaited ruling on the subject of DNA databases and the ability of the police to store DNA samples of innocent people indefinitely. In a majority judgment (with two of the seven judges disagreeing) the Court ruled that the police practices were unlawful. Due to changes in the law being discussed by Parliament the judges did not go as far as ordering the police to change their practices within a certain time-frame or awarding compensation. It was, however, suggested that if changes were not made soon, further cases could be brought which were likely to succeed.

While this ruling does not mark the end of excessive police profiling, or of the police DNA databases, it is clearly a step towards a more balanced and proportionate system, and should be welcomed by all those who seek a fair and just policing system

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Privacy: The Development of a Law and the Legal Theory

This is the first of three posts examining Privacy law in the UK. This post will examine the development of a law on privacy, its scope and the basic legal theory. The second post will look into the application of the law, focussing on contempt of court, the need for injunctions and their application, including orders contra mundum. It will briefly discuss the issue of Parliamentary Privilege. The third post will consider the principle of Open Justice, and  super-, anonymised and hyper- injunctions. Read the rest of this entry »

A Bill of (removing) Rights – Why We Need the ECHR

This week, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced that the government will be establishing a Commission to investigate creating a British Bill of Rights (or rather, another one, in addition to the one of 1688). Such a Bill would be aimed at replacing the Human Rights Act 1998 (the “HRA”), and by doing so, removing the requirement that the Courts and other public bodies act in a manner compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights (the “ECHR”). This is being sold to us on several grounds; in particular, that it is for Parliament to make laws, not the Courts, and certainly not some “bureaucratic, foreign” court in Strasbourg. In particular, issues have been raised over decisions by various Courts that prisoners should not automatically be disqualified from voting (in 2005) and more recently, that those on the Sex Offenders Register should have some form of appeal available to them.

These arguments are, of course, completely ridiculous. The actions of the Government are most troubling.
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