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Month: May 2013


Proposal to restrict police bail

A freedom of information request made by the Law society has revealed that there are more than 57,000 people currently on police bail awaiting a decision as to what action, if any, will be taken against them. significantly, this data was only taken from 34 of the 44 police forces.  The Law society has proposed…

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Sally Bercow tweet was defamatory

Lord McAlpine has succeeded in his high profile libel claim against sally Bercow after Mr Justice Tugendhat found that a tweet she published on 4 November 2012 was indeed defamatory of the Tory peer.  Following the decision (McAlpine v Bercow [2013] EWHC 1342 (QB)) the parties have agreed terms of settlement. The judgment followed a High Court hearing on 16 May…

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Court of Appeal holds public has a right to know about Boris Johnson's lovechild

In AAA v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 554 the Court of Appeal considered an appeal brought on behalf a three-year old child (via her maternal step-grandfather) against the decision of Mrs Justice Nicola Davies in her privacy claim against the owners of the Daily Mail. The High Court claim concerned the publication of private information relating to the issue of…

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Defamation Act 2013 receives royal assent

After much parliamentary wrangling, the Defamation Bill has become the Defamation Act 2013.   The Act codifies and consolidates much, but by no means all, of the existing libel law.  It also represents a shift in favour of freedom of expression, arguably at the expense of the protection of reputation.  Key features include:- -The introduction of a requirement on claimants…

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Retailers displaying 'lads' mags' could face discrimination claims

A number of leading human rights lawyers have called on supermarkets and other retailers to withdraw ‘lads’ mags’ from their stores. The magazines typically feature scantily-clad women on their covers.  In an open letter to The Guardian the lawyers claim that exposing staff to such publications may constitute sexual harassment and sex discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010. The letter states…

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Report shows jurors want greater guidance

A report conducted by the University College London law faculty has identified that 82% of jurors would like more information on conducting deliberations, especially where they require clarification on a legal issue. In preparing the report questions were asked of 239 jurors immediately after they had returned verdicts. There was a misunderstanding amongst nearly a…

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˜Good samaritan paid damages in libel claim against the Metropolitan Police

Leslie Austin, a Hackney resident, brought libel proceedings against the Metropolitan police after he was wrongly identified as a rioter.  On 8 August 2011, Mr Austin left his place of work and assisted various vulnerable people that had innocently found themselves caught up in the riots.   He was commended by individual police officers for his…

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Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) to be abolished

The Crime and Courts Act 2013 was given Royal Assent on 25 April 2013.  As per section 15(1) of the Act, the serious Organised Crime Agency (sOCA) is to be abolished.  It will be replaced by a National Crime Agency created by virtue of section 1(1) of the Act. sOCA, described as ˜Britains FBI was…

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suspended sentences handed down in first social media contempt case

On 26 April 2013, the High Court handed down suspended custodial sentences in Attorney-Generals first prosecution for contempt involving social media sites. Two men, Dean Liddle and Neil Harkins, admitted posting photographs, purporting to identify Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, in breach of a worldwide injunction protecting their new identities.  Venables and Thompson were convicted…

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McAlpine v Bercow to be listed for preliminary hearing on meaning of tweet

In McAlpine v Bercow [2013] EWHC 981 (QB) Mr Justice Tugendhat granted an application by the Claimant Lord McAlpine for a preliminary hearing to be held to determine the meaning of the Defendant sally Bercow’s tweet of 4 December 2012 – ‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’. The tweet was sent two days after the BBC’s Newsnight broadcast a…

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