Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Most Significant Constitutional Case Of Our Generation?

The Guardian has announced today that it hopes to be in court to discharge the injunction against reporting a parliamentary question.

One must wish The Guardian - and especially its lawyers - well in this endeavour.

It is unlikely that such a powerful injunction was granted on the basis of libel alone - or at all. It may have been based on the grounds of privacy, confidentiality, legal privilege, or even contempt of court.

Whatever the basis of the injunction, it seems to raise the crucial issue of the extent to which the courts can grant injunctions in respect of reporting parliamentary business, when such reports are protected by no less than the 1688 Bill of Rights.

If so, this case directly pits the very extremity of the power of the courts against the most fundamental privilege of parliament.

This may well be the most significant constitutional case of our generation.


John Flood said...

What I truly fail to understand is why Farrelly's Parliamentary Question was considered so incendiary that it could not be reported? If Parliament's workings can't be open, then we're back to Star Chamber days.

It really is time that the UK had a proper written constitution with a charter of rights guaranteed and not reliant on the prime minister's and cabinet secretary's whims.

Natasha Phillips said...

I agree with both Alan and John's sentiments.

We are becoming very prudish as a nation, afraid of our own shadow and too busy wrapping ourselves up in bureaucratic tape.

Freedom of Speech is terribly important and is not the enemy. Bad law or silent law, is.

Phil said...
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