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The Devil in the Detail? The Government’s Response on SLAPPs and clause 4 of the Bill of Rights Bill – Mark Hanna

Just what exactly is the Government proposing in its recently published Response to the Call for Evidence on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs)? As one commentator on this forum has pointed out, the ‘devil is in the detail’ of the Response, and the suggested reforms raise ‘more questions than answers’. This is not to question the existence of SLAPPs, or to cast aspersions on the sudden willingness for public debate on the issue. Continue reading

Footballer Sex Scandals: The perils of reporting criminal investigations, identifying suspects and discussing allegations online – Daniel Shaw

Footballer sex scandals – the perils of reporting criminal investigations, identifying suspects and discussing allegations onlineThere have been several new stories in the last year reporting the arrest of footballers for complaints of sexual offences. The most recent example was first reported in the Telegraph on 4 July 2022. The article reported that a “Premier League international footballer” had been arrested in North London on suspicion of rape. The player in question was not named “for legal reasons”; however, the article contained information about the player which enable him to be identified, including his likely age, international profile and the fact he is due to play at the World Cup in Qatar this year. The article also reported that it was unclear he would participate in his club’s pre-season fixture schedule. The article also reported the location where the player had been arrested. Continue reading

Australia: Farm Transparency and New South Wales, What this High Court decision on filming animals in farms and abattoirs really means – Danielle Ireland-Piper

What do farm animals have to do with the Australian Constitution? Should the public know what happens in abattoirs and farms? Do we have the right to publish footage of what happens to animals in slaughterhouses? Should governments be able to make laws criminalising it? How do we best protect the privacy of farmers and prevent trespass? Continue reading

What impact might the Bill of Rights Bill have on freedom of expression cases? – Godwin Busuttil

There are three clauses of the Bill of Rights Bill [pdf] which, if enacted in their current form, would have a direct impact on freedom of expression cases. These are clauses 4 (‘Freedom of speech’), 21 (‘Limit on court’s power to require disclosure of journalistic sources’) and 22 (‘Limit on court’s power to grant relief that affects freedom of expression’). Continue reading

Media and Communications List: Substantial decline in the number of issued claims in the first half of 2022

There has been a substantial decline in the number of new claims issued in the Media and Communications List of the Queen’s Bench Division (“the M&C List”) in the first 6 months of 2022.   A total  of 100 new claims were issued, an annual rate of 200.  This is only 35% of the 564 new claims issued in 2021 and 53% of the 373 claims issued in 2020.  Continue reading

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