Australians are often surprised to learn that their Constitution contains no right to free speech. Even the right to political speech, which is constitutionally implied, is increasingly complicated by new online platforms where people can express their views. Continue reading
Preliminary hearings on meaning are becoming the norm in defamation actions, as parties view them as a relatively cheap and efficient way of determining a key issue at the outset. In Barron MP & Others v Jane Collins MEP EWHC 1125 (QB), three Labour MPs for constituencies in the Rotherham area brought a libel action against a UKIP candidate over a speech she made at the UKIP Conference. Continue reading
The appeal in the case of Heesom v Public Services Ombudsman for Wales ( EWHC 1504 (Admin)) was brought by a former Welsh Councillor against his disqualification from being a member of a Council. It raises the issue about the scope of and legitimate restrictions to a politician’s right of freedom of expression under Article 10 ECHR. Continue reading
The recent decision in the case of McEvoy v Michael ( EWHC 701 (QB)) provides a helpful practical example and reminder of the breadth and value of the defence of fair comment (now honest opinion pursuant to s.3 of the Defamation Act 2013) in protecting political speech.