Prosecuting social media: the DPP’s interim guidelines – Alex Bailin QC and Edward Craven

23 12 2012

TwitterThe ubiquity of social media presents new challenges for law enforcement and free speech. The Leveson Report described the internet as an ‘ethical vacuum’ where ‘bloggers and others may, if they choose, act with impunity’. But this picture of an unregulated domain of free expression is at odds with recent prosecutions for messages posted on Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites. Read the rest of this entry »





Containing contempt: the Law Commission consultation – Alex Bailin QC

10 12 2012

ContemptThe Law Commission recently published a timely consultation paper on reform of contempt of court laws.  The current Attorney General has been extraordinarily active in bringing contempt cases – with more in the last few years than in the previous decade. His view is that contempt laws are still valid in the internet age but enforcement presents a real challenge, particularly given the power and prevalence of social media. The Law Commission’s starting point is “to ask how, in a modern, internet-connected society, the law of contempt can continue to support the principles that criminal cases should be tried only on the evidence heard in court.Read the rest of this entry »





Prosecuting the Media: The DPP’s final guidelines – Alex Bailin QC and Edward Craven

26 09 2012

On 13 September 2012 the Director of Public Prosecutions published final Guidelines for prosecutors on assessing the public interest in cases affecting the media. The guidelines set out the approach that the CPS will take to prosecutorial decisions that affect the media. In particular, they provide guidance to prosecutors on how to decide whether a prosecution is in the public interest. Read the rest of this entry »