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Month: November 2012


Law Commission recommends overhaul of contempt laws

The Law Commission is to launch a consultation paper on proposals to reform the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the common law offence of contempt of court. The Commission believes that changes are required in order for the law to keep up with technological advances and, in particular, the spread of social media. Careless blogging or tweeting can…

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stalking becomes a criminal offence

On 25 November 2012, section 111 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 came into force.  This creates two specific offences: ‘stalking’, and ‘stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress’. The provision has inserted the offences into the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. The former offence carries a maximum prison sentence of six months,…

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Dawn of the Twibel – how safe is it to tweet?

It remains to be seen how many individuals Lord McAlpine will pursue for tweets falsely linking him to allegations of child abuse. Press reports suggest that he may seek damages from 20 high profile tweeters. However, his lawyers RMPI solicitors have indicated that they have a list of up to 10,000 Twitter users (‘tweeters’), who ‘tweeted’ or…

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Employees' freedom of expression on Facebook

The recent case of Adrian smith -v- Trafford Housing Trust [2012] EWHC 3221(Ch) concerned the interesting issue of an employer disciplining an employee for remarks published on the website Facebook. The Claimant, Adrian smith, a practising Christian and lay preacher, worked as a housing manager at the Defendant Housing Trust. Mr smith posted two comments on his personal Facebook page, one of which described…

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UBs rogue trader jailed for seven years

Former UBs banker Kweku Adoboli has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment after having been convicted of the largest fraud in British legal history. A jury at southwark Crown Court found Mr Adoboli guilty on 20 November 2012 on two counts of fraud by abuse of position. He was acquitted of four further counts of false accounting. Mr…

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Government seeks to curb judicial review

The Ministry of Justice has announced that it plans to reform the judicial review process in order to reduce “weak or ill-conceived cases” and ease the burden on the courts. Judicial review is the process by which individuals can apply to the Administrative Court to review the decision of a public body on the grounds of…

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BBC agrees to pay Lord McAlpine £185,000 damages and legal costs

The BBC has agreed to pay Lord McAlpine £185,000 in damages, together with legal costs, following a Newsnight broadcast on 2 November 2012 which led to the peer wrongly being implicated in the alleged sexual abuse of children at north Wales care homes in the 1970s and 1980s. Lord McAlpine was not mentioned by name in the…

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Conditional discharge no bar to confiscation

In Varma 2012 UKsC 42 the supreme Court was asked to decide whether the Crown Court has power to make a confiscation order where the defendant had been made the subject of an absolute or conditional discharge following conviction. Varma had pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to section 170(2) Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. It…

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Legal Disclaimer

Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.