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Showing posts from March, 2011

New Superinjunction - report in Guardian

A wealthy financier involved in a family dispute has made British legal history by winning anonymity in a libel case. This latest court attempt to censor internet material has led to claims that free speech is being further eroded in Britain.

I am unsure how this really helps. The interests of confidence in justice are not being served. The fact that someone went to court to stop people repeating lies about them is not a fact that needs to be hidden even if it is best that people don't repeat the lies.

Progress on Sixth formers

I am pleased with the progress being made on the replacement for EMA. Additional funds have been found to ensure that sixth formers have assistance with travel. This is one of the issues that I have been pressing for change on.

Another super or hyper injunction.

The Mail on Sunday reported, yesterday, about another secret court proceeding. It is probably not a hyper injunction.

This one is a criminal proceeding.

Let us make reference to ECHR:

In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.

In particular we don't know which of the exemptions are being used. A judgment has been given for a secret injunction, but the judgment its…

Free Spirits speech from Monday

Freedom of Speech and the rule of law

I quote from the linked post.

First, I will take the elements of the rule of law as sketched by the late Law Lord, Tom Bingham, in his final book The Rule of Law (Allen Lane, 2010):
The law must be accessible, and so far as possible intelligible, clear and predictable (p37
Questions of legal right and liability should ordinarily be resolved by application of the law and not by the exercise of discretion (p48)
The laws of the land should apply equally to all, save to the extent that objective differences justify differentiation (p55)
Ministers and public officers at all levels must exercise the powers conferred on them in good faith, fairly, for the purpose for which the powers were conferred, without exceeding the limits of such powers[,] and not unreasonably (p60)
The law must afford adequate protection of fundamental rights (p66)
Means must be provided for resolving, without prohibitive cost or inordinate delay, bona fide civil disputes which the parties themselves are unable to resolve (p…

Bill of Rights debate yesterday including hyperinjunctions

The link is to Yesterday's bill of rights debates.

There is no sense me copying the whole of the debate here. You can simply click on the link

The issues looked at are:
1. Freedom of speech
2. Super and hyper-injunctions
3. People's right to talk to MPs
4. The lack of accountability of the official solicitor
5. Problems with secret courts

This will give the video.

What is Europe?

This map is a map produced by Big Think.com It is worth looking at the original post which explains in more detail.

What the Map does is to demonstrate the different groupings in Europe. This includes the Vatican that mints Euros, but is not part of either the EU or Council of Europe.

St Patricks Day Parade 2011 Birmingham

Although I didn't get to bed until 2am following the Glee Club at the Lib Dem Conference I did manage to attend the St Patrick's day parade (mainly because I packed everything away before going to bed).

The parade was bigger and better than last year, but I will take a while to put up photos. I will also link to other photo sets, but not immediately.

On this parade "A long way to Tipperary" was played in Bb.

My set is available on flickr as well.

The BBC have a limited number of photos.

Here are from photos from Alabama - just to show how much better the real Birmingham parade is.

Kaz Keily also has a set.

This is the official facebook page. This is a facebook photo album.

Another Flickr set with a good photo of the Tipperary group.

This links to another photographer's images on flickr

This is his set.
Jamie Christie's set in Black and White
Elaine Parker has taken some photos, but doesn't have a set. You will need to browse her photos which can be found here

Same w…

Today in Business Questions

I have been contacted about my comments in parliament today. My response is: "It is a legally complex situation and I am not saying anything outside parliamentary proceedings".

On the wider question, however. I would say:
"I am concerned about two things. Firstly the development of a law of privacy without the proper statutory underpinning or public support. Secondly, the lack of accountability for super injunctions."

It is parliament's role to deal with both of these issues.

Hansard has now published the exchange:
John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD): In a secret hearing, Fred Goodwin has obtained a super-injunction preventing him from being identified as a banker. Will the Government hold a debate, or make a statement, on freedom of speech, and whether there is one law for the rich, such as Fred Goodwin, and another for the poor, such as Lee Gilliland who has had his mental capacity removed on the basis of a report from his GP that he is not allowed to see?

S…

Barnsley Central and Hamilton South

There was a by-election in Hamilton South in 1999 in which the Lib Dems came 6th behind an independent with 3.3% of the vote. Compared against that Barnsley Central where we came 6th with 4.2% of the vote (also behind an independent) is a better result.

However, neither were in any way significant by-elections.

Greater Birmingham LEP

I am pleased that more towns in the City Region based around Birmingham are recognising the merit of working together. Sadly it appears that the Black Country do not want to work with Birmingham, Solihull, East Staffordshire, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Tamworth, Bromsgrove, Redditch and Wyre Forest.

However, the other towns should be congratulated on being willing to work together to promote the local economy.