The fundamental right to insult our leaders: Three worrying cases in France, the West Bank and right here – Adam Wagner

22 03 2013

mahmoud-abbas1Comparing different countries’ legal systems is a dangerous game, but three cases came to light last week which beg to be compared. The criminalisation of criticising political leaders has always been a hallmark of illiberal societies, and it seems that the tradition is still going strong today: in France, the West Bank and the UK too.

First, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a man should not have been convicted of a criminal offence for waving a placard at (as he was then) President Sarkozy reading “Casse toi pov’con” (“Get lost, you sad prick”). Read the rest of this entry »





Briefing Note on Exemplary Damages and Costs – Gill Phillips

22 03 2013

Leveson ReportA lot has been written in recent days about the proposed new clauses to go into the Crime and Courts Bill, which is due to be debated in the Lords on Monday, on exemplary damages and costs. The content and import of these clauses are very worrying and pose some serious threats to free speech. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Court of Human Rights, The Pirate Bay v. Sweden, Copyright versus Freedom of Expression II – Dirk Voorhoof and Inger Høedt-Rasmussen,

22 03 2013

the-pirate-bay-logoOnly a few weeks after the Strasbourg Court’s judgment in the case of Ashby Donald and others v. France (ECtHR 10 January 2013, see our Inforrm post here) the Court of has decided a new case of conflicting rights between copyright and freedom of expression. The case of Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi (The Pirate Bay) v. Sweden, Appl. nr. 40397/12 concerned the complaint by two of the co-founders of “The Pirate Bay”, that their conviction for complicity to commit crimes in violation of the Copyright Act had breached their freedom of expression and information.

Read the rest of this entry »