Noting the fact that according to press reports Ryan Giggs's lawyers are still trying to get information from Twitter can I offer to organise a collective defence of twitter users in the English and Welsh jurisdiction. Anyone who receives notification from twitter is welcome to contact me via the parliamentary systems.
John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD): Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.
Hon. Members will be aware that I have a long-time concern about secrecy in court processes, which was highlighted in the story in The Guardian today. We have no true freedom of speech when people can be jailed for complaining about their problems. This country seems to have a penchant for covering up problems that would be discussed openly in others.
Florence Bellone, a Belgian journalist, recorded an interview with Carol Hughes and Lucille O’Regan in Ireland, which was broadcast on RTBF in Belgium. A copy was placed on YouTube, but access in the UK is now blocked as a result of what YouTube calls a “government request”. What can be so frightening about that interview that people in the UK are not allowed to see it, but it can be broadcast in Belgium?
The policy of international websites varies. The Twitter account containing the names of lots of people subject to super-injunctions is still there, and will remain the…
"If the third party publishes information which is already fully and clearly in the public domain by reason of the acts of others, then the third party's act of publication does not have this effect. It does not have an adverse effect on the administration of justice in the action. The court's purpose in making its interlocutory order has, by then, already been defeated by the acts of others. This is so, whether those acts occurred before or after the court made its order."
So, the question I asked in The House on Monday would not have been in contempt of court if asked outside parliament. The information was in the public domain already. Widely so. I hadn't even seen a copy of the order.
Answering questions as to why he named the twitter footballer today, but not before John Hemming said
"When he sued twitter it was clear what he was doing. He was going after the ordinary people who have been gossiping about him on twitter. To prosecute someone for contempt of court is quite a serious step. It comes with an up to two year jail sentance."
"I have spoken to people of ordinary means who have received these injunctions. I have also spoken to people who faced jailing in secret hearings and who were subject to anonymity orders themselves. This is a really oppressive system.
"So on one side you have a footballer upset that people are gossiping about him and on the other side you have ordinary people facing the threats of a two year jail sentance. I think it is wrong that he has the power to do this, but at least if he is going to do this let him be held to account."
"Before he sued twitter there was no public interest in naming him. However, …
The link is to the judgment today in the above case.
Section 12 of the 1998 Human Rights Act can be found here
Where in the judgment can you find reference to 12 (4)
The court must have particular regard to the importance of the Convention right to freedom of expression and, where the proceedings relate to material which the respondent claims, or which appears to the court, to be journalistic, literary or artistic material (or to conduct connected with such material), to—
(a)the extent to which—
(i)the material has, or is about to, become available to the public; or
(ii)it is, or would be, in the public interest for the material to be published;
Much that the presence of the twitter account that purports to reveal contents of a number of super injunctions was in the news on Monday, the account is still there and now has 113,865 followers.
What we have is a law that is not generally accepted as well as a law that only really benefits wealthy men.
The point about the checks and balances in the system is to ensure that the laws do have general acceptance through the parliamentary systems.
One of the challenges, however, is that when courts sit in secret and make orders that themselves are secret it is difficult to get clarity as to whether the laws do or do not have general acceptance.
Obviously when it comes to the question of privacy it has become quite clear that the current position does not have general acceptance.
My own view is that some of the other things that have been kept secret by court orders are issues that would not have general acceptance. However, that can only be tested by getting those issues into the public …
John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, if he will instruct legal representatives to intervene on one or more cases in respect of recent judgments in terms of the balance between Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights to take the case to the Supreme Court for a ruling on the interpretation of section 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998. (55629)
The link is to the judgment. The conclusion of the judgment is: However, the Court has consistently emphasised the need to look beyond the facts of the present case and to consider the broader impact of a pre-notification requirement. The limited scope under Article 10 for restrictions on the freedom of the press to publish material which contributes to debate on matters of general public interest must be borne in mind. Thus, having regard to the chilling effect to which a pre-notification requirement risks giving rise, to the significant doubts as to the effectiveness of any pre-notification requirement and to the wide margin of appreciation in this area, the Court is of the view that Article 8 does not require a legally binding pre-notification requirement. Accordingly, the Court concludes that there has been no violation of Article 8 of the Convention by the absence of such a requirement in domestic law.
It is just not practicable to have a legal requirement to notify people every t…