The UK's Super-Secret-Extra-Double Injunctions



  • In the UK you can get an court injunction against the press (which includes Twitter somehow) mentioning some fact. This is pretty much the anti-thesis to how the (far superior) US does things, but I can kind of see where they're coming from-- if someone is on trial you want to try to prevent the public from declaring them guilty before the jury decides. And, honestly, here in the US, maybe adding the word "alleged" before every pre-trial mention of a criminal act isn't sufficient.

    But then there's the Super-Secret-Extra-Double Injunction where not only can you not mention the act, you also can't mention that the injunction exists. Paging Mr. Orwell. Fortunately, the UK press seems to think this is as retarded as it actually is and seem to be defying the court order to some extent. Still, the fact that this is a thing that exists is pretty... WTF.

    Coming up next: Super-Secret-Triple-Extra-Double Injunction, where you can't mention the act, the injunction, *or* print anything at all other than football scores.

    (Kind of reminds me of Canada's unelected Human Rights Commissions, confusingly named that despite their entire function being to quell the right to Freedom of Speech. They also have managed to completely whitewash their Wiki page somehow.)



  • There's really a simple way to fix this system: Instead of selecting jurors from a pool of citizens who might have heard of the indictment and circumstances behind the trial even before receiving the summons, simply have a secret underground bank of cryo-chambered dedicated jurors who literally have been under a rock and never heard of the suspects or the incident. They'll wake up inside the courtroom without any prior knowledge of the case.

    As a bonus, as cryo-chambered people, there won't be other environmental bias issues such as the CSI Effect since they'll never watch those forensic crime dramas. Since it has to be voluntary, these jurors will be paid millions of dollars for 10 years of dedicated service (surely 12 people would agree to those terms, which makes any human rights issues moot). You might think that's a lot of money, but it's probably less cost than it takes to select new jurors and issue/enforce injunctions, which will be rendered obsolete by this new method.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    In the UK you can get an court injunction against the press (which includes Twitter somehow)...
     

    @blakeyrat said:

    ...defying the court order to some extent

    It's almost certainly true that some of the people who took out Super Injuctions are getting talked about more on twitter etc that they would be if they'd just kept a low profile for a few days when the story broke.



  • @nosliwmas said:

    It's almost certainly true that some of the people who took out Super Injuctions are getting talked about more on twitter etc that they would be if they'd just kept a low profile for a few days when the story broke.

    Maybe someone in the UK can answer this-- does this injunction exist for everybody, not just the media? If I'm in the UK, not in the media, and thus wasn't informed about the secret injunction, am I committing a crime by talking about the event? I mean I know that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" but surely that doesn't apply to laws you can't look up in a public library. Does the UK government just assume if it's not in the media, nobody can ever know about it? Even though the foreign media is allowed to report it?

    And how does Twitter, a US company, fit in to any of this? Did they just wuss-out and voluntarily censor the name, or did the UK government compel them to?

    I gotta read more articles on this.



  • At least it's not double secret probation.



  •  I'm pretty sure you'd get charged with contempt of court. The injuction certainly applies to all UK residents. Twitter censored it as the alternative was for them to be compelled to pass the details of the users responsible to the prosecution service & that would have damaged their reputation horribly.

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    1. does this injunction exist for everybody, not just the media?

    2. If I'm in the UK, not in the media, and thus wasn't informed about the secret injunction, am I committing a crime by talking about the event?

    3. I mean I know that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" but surely that doesn't apply to laws you can't look up in a public library.

    4. Does the UK government just assume if it's not in the media, nobody can ever know about it?

    5. Even though the foreign media is allowed to report it?

    6. And how does Twitter, a US company, fit in to any of this? Did they just wuss-out and voluntarily censor the name, or did the UK government compel them to?

    1. Yes

    2. Yes - contempt of court

    3. You're right - that's part of why there's a big response from the UK public (30,000 people posting the name on Twitter, plus hundreds of fans at a football match yelling at the guy)

    4. Not the government - it's the courts - this is a civil matter about private injunctions - in fact judges trying to interpret crappy statute law

    5. Not a question of "allowed" - the foreign media cannot be done for contempt of court

    6. Twitter didn't censor the name of the man who is the subject of the injunction- that's the other point of this fuss - that the existence of Twitter and similar blows the whole superinjunction thing out of the water. Twitter will likely refuse to reveal any details they have on who posted the original tweet (and good on 'em, I say).

    Three more thoughts:

    - it must be trivially easy to post onTwitter both anonymously and untraceably

    - I am ashamed of the level of ignorance shown by public legal figures in UK saying "we're going hunt down the bastard who released this info and jail him". Er, how? (assuming the poster had two brain cells to rub together).

    - the man who is the subject of the injunction has told his lawyers to sue Twitter to force them to reveal the identity of the poster. Has he never heard of the Streisand Effect?



  • Have Twitter now censored the original tweets? Last I heard, they had just blocked the footballer's name in the trending lists? However, you can work out who it is by comparing the trending list and the subject volumes (apparently - sorry, I've lost rtack of the site where I read that)



  • It's Ryan Giggs. Outed (legally) in Parliament!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @GreyWolf said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    1. does this injunction exist for everybody [in the UK], not just the media?

    1. Yes

    Really? There was I thinking that it only applied to the press in England and Wales. Which is why a Scottish (print) newspaper got away with this.

    @GreyWolf said:
    the man who is the subject of the injunction has told his lawyers to sue Twitter to force them to reveal the identity of the poster. Has he never heard of the Streisand Effect?
    I rather think it's the lawyers doing what lawyers do best, and make work for themselves to charge money, and sod what's best for their clients.


    Some of this is rather academic now anyway; since one of the footballers been mentioned by name in association with the injunctions in the House of Commons (which the press are free to report - c.f. Trafigura.)


  • @GreyWolf said:

    Have Twitter now censored the original tweets? Last I heard, they had just blocked the footballer's name in the trending lists? However, you can work out who it is by comparing the trending list and the subject volumes (apparently - sorry, I've lost rtack of the site where I read that)

    From my understanding, they:

    1) Removed the name from the search index (meaning, a search for it will return 0 results)
    2) Removed the name from the Trending Lists, even through according to third-party sites it qualified as "trending". (That said, Twitter's algorithm for Trending tweets is pretty opaque, so those third-party sites could just be mistaken.)

    That said, 1) is either undone, or was a false report in the first place (if you try it now, the search works fine), and 2) could simply be explained by the name not qualifying for Trending according to Twitter's non-quite-reverse-engineered-yet rules for that. So other than being sued, maybe Twitter isn't involved at all.



  • I, for one, find the entire idea of a superinjunction truly repulsive, makes me sad to be British, and that's all I have to say about it.



  • @PJH said:

    it only applied to the press in England and Wales. Which is why a Scottish (print) newspaper got away with this

    I think it would be more correct to say that the Act which defines and allows 'superinjunctions' is a law which was enacted under English (and therefore Welsh) law. Scots law, as you correctly state, is entirely separate from English law, and is a separate jurisdiction (as many have discovered to their cost over the years).

    In practice, most (not all) laws enacted in England/Wales are adopted unchanged in Scotland, but sentences for the same offence can differ; and famously, Scotland has three possible verdicts for a criminal trial, which are: proven (=guilty), not guilty, and not proven (=we're pretty sure you did it but we don't have enough evidence to return a verdict of 'proven').

    I also think (but am not certain) that an injunction or 'superinjunction' seeks to prevent the publication of specific information (as in 'making public'). So you can chat about it in the privacy of your own home, or to people who already know the facts (but how would you know?!!), but not in any puiblic place or by any means of publication (Twitter, if you posted from the UK, would count; as would any Web site on a server which is physically located in England or Wales).



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Maybe someone in the UK can answer this-- does this injunction exist for everybody, not just the media? If I'm in the UK, not in the media, and thus wasn't informed about the secret injunction, am I committing a crime by talking about the event? I mean I know that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" but surely that doesn't apply to laws you can't look up in a public library. Does the UK government just assume if it's not in the media, nobody can ever know about it? Even though the foreign media is allowed to report it?

    And how does Twitter, a US company, fit in to any of this? Did they just wuss-out and voluntarily censor the name, or did the UK government compel them to?

    I gotta read more articles on this.

    Mainly, the confusion is because the media reporting on this has largely been total bollocks. Worth going straight to the sources where you can.

    The actual judgement under discussion: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2011/1232.html and http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2011/1326.html

    The majority of cases over the last few years, in which the courts have had to apply those principles, would appear to be of the so called "kiss and tell" variety and they not infrequently involve blackmailing threats. Blackmail is, of course, a crime and in that context the courts have long afforded anonymity to those targeted as a matter of public policy. That has not hitherto been questioned. In the modern context, against the background of the Human Rights Act, it is equally clear that the courts have an obligation to afford remedies to such individuals, to discourage blackmailers and to give some protection in respect of personal or private information where there is a threat of revelation.

    In circumstances of this kind, there has to be a two stage process. This accords with what has been described as "the new methodology": Re S (A Child), cited above, at [23]. First, the court has to decide whether the subject matter of the threatened publication would be such as to give rise to a "reasonable expectation of privacy" on the part of the applicant. In this case, as in so many others, there can be no doubt on that score. It is concerned with conduct of an intimate and sexual nature and, what is more, there has been no suggestion in this case that the relationship, for so long as it lasted, was conducted publicly. It is clear both from domestic and Strasbourg jurisprudence that such personal relationships are entitled to Article 8 protection: see e.g. the discussion in Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2008] EMLR 20, and in particular at [100] and at [125]-[132] and, for yet another decision of the Court of Appeal, in this context, see also ASG v GSA [2009] EWCA Civ 1574.

    Once that hurdle has been overcome, the next stage is for the court to weigh against the claimant's Article 8 rights, and any duty owed to him under the traditional law of confidence, whether it would be appropriate for those rights to be overridden by any countervailing considerations. In the present case, of course, it is necessary to weigh up the Article 10 rights of Ms Thomas, together with those of any journalists she has approached. Also, it is necessary to have regard to the public interest and to the right of citizens generally to receive information. I have to consider whether there would be a legitimate public interest in the revelation of this particular information, in so far as it is not already in the public domain, and whether publication would contribute to "a debate of general interest", in the sense conveyed by the European Court of Human Rights in such cases as Von Hannover v Germany (2005) 40 EHRR 1. Would it help to achieve some legitimate social purpose, such as the prevention or detection of crime? Or again, echoing the terminology of the Press Complaints Commission Code, would publication in some way prevent the public from being seriously misled?

    As in so many "kiss and tell" cases, it seems to me that the answer, at stage two, is not far to seek. Indeed, it was not even argued that publication would serve the public interest. Discussion focused rather on the extent to which relevant material might already, at that time, be in the public domain. In most of these cases, it will be appropriate, in accordance with established practice, to include within the terms of any court order what is called a "public domain proviso": see e.g. Att.-Gen. v Times Newspapers Ltd [2001] 1 WLR 885; X and Y v Persons Unknown [2007] 1 FLR 1567. There may well be, in any given case, room for argument as to what truly is or is not in the public domain; but the principle is clear, namely that the court will not attempt to prevent publication or discussion of material that is genuinely in the public domain since, where that is so, there will no longer be any confidentiality or privacy to protect.

    and

    In these circumstances, it seems to me that the right question for me to ask, in the light of JIH v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2011] 2 All ER 324 and Re Guardian News and Media Ltd [2010] UKSC 1, is whether there is a solid reason why the Claimant's identity should be generally revealed in the national media, such as to outweigh the legitimate interests of himself and his family in maintaining anonymity. The answer is as yet in the negative. They would be engulfed in a cruel and destructive media frenzy. Sadly, that may become unavoidable in the society in which we now live but, for the moment, in so far as I am being asked to sanction it, I decline to do so.

    The judge isn't the out-of-touch idiot he's being portrayed as in the media. When it comes down to it, I can't see any reason why the footballer in question shouldn't be allowed his privacy.

    The Report of the (UK Parliamentary) Committee on Super-Injunctions: http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Reports/super-injunction-report-20052011.pdf

    2.6 As a form of interim injunction, a super-injunction not only binds those against whom it is issued, but also any third parties who have notice of the injunction, under what is known as the Spycatcher principle. Third parties served with copies of such an . injunction are, under this principle, subject to the court’s contempt jurisdiction, the aim of which is to protect the court’s process against ‘acts and words tending to obstruct the administration of justice’.

    ,While a super-injunction is in force, breach of its terms . either by those against whom it is issued, or by third parties with notice of it, is an interference with the proper administration of justice and a contempt of court, which may result in committal, the imposition of a fine or sequestration of property.

    2.7 By contrast, a final injunction, e.g., one made at trial following the final determination of the parties’ substantive rights, only binds those against whom it is made. Once. proceedings are concluded (or, in the meantime, if it has lapsed by the expiry of a time limit, or is set aside), like any other interim injunction, a super-injunction ceases to have any effect, and therefore no longer binds any third party who has notice of it. Hence it is of particular importance that the third party is informed as soon as it is no longer in force as the administration of justice, following a trial, has taken place.

    2.8 In a number of respects a super-injunction is therefore no different from any other interim injunction. What then renders an interim injunction a super-injunction? (ii) What renders an interim injunction a super-injunction?

    2.9 Super-injunctions will typically have a number of features, but none of those features on its own will render an interim injunction a super-injunction. Those features are as follows.

    2.10 First, a super-injunction will not only be served on the respondents to the injunction application, where their identity is known, but will also be served on third parties, i.e., persons who are not parties to the proceedings. Those third parties are usually media organisations, which will usually not have had prior notice of the proceedings.

    Such service is intended to bring the media organisation within the ambit of the Spycatcher principle. In many cases where the identity of the respondent to the application is unknown, the real value of the order is the ability to serve it on media third parties as it prohibits them from disclosing the information subject to the injunction pending the conclusion of the proceedings. It thus stops the media from publishing stories . concerning the protected information pending trial. 2.11 Secondly, the proceedings will often be anonymised, and will, at least normally, be heard in private.

    2.12 Thirdly, the injunction will also typically derogate from the provisions of CPR PD 25A 9.2, so that any third party, and in particular any media third party served, will need to apply to the court to receive a note of the hearing and a copy of the materials read by the judge who granted it.

    The order may also restrict access to court documents. This is commonly, although not entirely accurately, referred to as sealing the court file.

    . 2.13 The feature which transforms an interim injunction into a super-injunction – the ‘super’ element – is, however, none of the above three features, important though they are. The super element is a prohibition on the disclosure or communication of the existence of the order and the proceedings. It is this feature of the injunction which initially brought public attention to super-injunctions in the Trafigura proceedings.

    The term super-injunction was coined by The Guardian in relation to the provision in the injunction granted in those proceedings which prohibited reporting the existence of the proceedings. It is this which has authoritatively been identified by the Court of Appeal . in Ntuli v Donald as being the feature which transforms an injunction into a superinjunction. Importantly, Ntuli also confirms that anonymisation of the parties is to be contrasted with the super element of the injunction: anonymity by itself does not render an injunction a super-injunction: it is not even a necessary feature of a super-injunction

    . 2.14 In the light of the above, and the type of information which they typically protect on an interim basis, the Committee concludes that the term super-injunction can properly be defined as follows: an interim injunction which restrains a person from: (i) publishing information which concerns the applicant and is said to be confidential or private; and, ii) publicising or informing others of the existence of the order and the proceedings (the ‘super’ element of the order)

    . This is to be contrasted with an anonymised injunction, which is: an interim injunction which restrains a person from publishing information which concerns the applicant and is said to be confidential or private where the names of either or both of the parties to the proceedings are not stated.



  • @some judge said:

    They would be engulfed in a cruel and destructive media frenzy. Sadly, that may become unavoidable in the society in which we now live but, for the moment, in so far as I am being asked to sanction it, I decline to do so.

    It's not Freedom of the Press's fault that people enjoy trash journalism, and it should not be curtailed for that reason. This judge is simply wrong.



  • @Cad Delworth said:

    Scots law,
     

    What is the difference between the adjectives "Scots" and "Scottish"? Is it ever correct to describe something from Scotland as "Scottish"?

    THE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH MAY DERAIL THE THREAD.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Someone You Know said:

    What is the difference between the adjectives "Scots" and "Scottish"?
    Not a lot; they're generally interchangeable.



  • @Someone You Know said:

    THE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH MAY DERAIL THE THREAD.

    If there's a more redundant phrase around here, it could only be "TRWTF is CS."



  •  If the injunction is only binding on people who are informed of its existence (even if they're not parties to the case involved), but one of its provisions is that nobody is allowed to be informed of the existence of the injunction, then how would anybody ever be brought under it in the first place other than those actually in the courtroom at the time it's issued?

     



  • @dtobias said:

     If the injunction is only binding on people who are informed of its existence (even if they're not parties to the case involved), but one of its provisions is that nobody is allowed to be informed of the existence of the injunction, then how would anybody ever be brought under it in the first place other than those actually in the courtroom at the time it's issued?

     

    By informing them of its existence?

    If someone who was bound by the injunction broke it by telling you what Ryan Giggs allegedly did but didn't tell you about the injunction itself, then you would probably be free to discuss Ryan Giggs' alleged sexual infidelity until such a time as someone told you about the injunction, which would probably happen pretty quickly.  And then they'd probably get a court to order you to reveal who told you, and prosecute that person for contempt of court.

    Yeah, it's all pretty dumb and clearly doesn't work in the internet age.  Hurrah for Parliament at least still having freedom of speech, so now even people like me who don't give a fuck about football or celebrity gossip know that Ryan Giggs is the jackass who wants to censor the internet.

     



  • As mentioned, it seems that the obvious consequence of the trying for the Super-Secret-Extra-Double Injunction is that it doesn't work and more people end up talking about what you don't want them talking about (the Streisand Effect).

    But...the only Super-Secret-Extra-Double Injunctions we know about are the ones that we know about (obviously).  Perhaps there are some that we never find out about meaning SSEDIs are worth a shot.

    That doesn't take away from the fact that celebs need to accept that the days of suppressing indiscretions with a quiet word to a couple of journalists are long gone in the world of camera phones and constant Internet connectivity.

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @some judge said:
    They would be engulfed in a cruel and destructive media frenzy. Sadly, that may become unavoidable in the society in which we now live but, for the moment, in so far as I am being asked to sanction it, I decline to do so.

    It's not Freedom of the Press's fault that people enjoy trash journalism, and it should not be curtailed for that reason. This judge is simply wrong.

    Er, let me see. Firstly, let's be clear that these particular types of injunctions are only interim orders, intended to prevent details leaking out before a full privacy case comes to court.

    Secondly, here in the UK this all comes from the EU Convention on Human Rights (written into UK law as the Human Rights Act 1998, if anyone cares). There's nothing about freedom of the press over here, but there are provisions about free speech. The problem is that there are two conflicting clauses, one of which defines a right to free speech, and the other, a right to privacy. Exactly where the line should be drawn between the two is quite rightly a matter for the courts.

    In the third place, I agree entirely with the judge. I can't see that any vital principle is eroded by protecting the right to privacy at the expense of the right to kiss-and-tell. And of course, despite your comment, the judge is actually correct in law, and had little if any choice in his ruling there.



  • @dtobias said:

     If the injunction is only binding on people who are informed of its existence (even if they're not parties to the case involved), but one of its provisions is that nobody is allowed to be informed of the existence of the injunction, then how would anybody ever be brought under it in the first place other than those actually in the courtroom at the time it's issued?

     

    It's more that you can't publish information, than that you can't mention it at all. Generally it would be served specifically on people/corporations who it was particularly aimed at, to ensure they know.

    @RTapeLoadingError said:

    As mentioned, it seems that the obvious consequence of the trying for the Super-Secret-Extra-Double Injunction is that it doesn't work and more people end up talking about what you don't want them talking about (the Streisand Effect).

    Well, saying that, perhaps they're just not going about it the right way. If Giggs had simply hired a bunch of people to post false tweets identifying every footballer in the league, who'd have been able to tell which one was true?



  • @intertravel said:

    Secondly, here in the UK this all comes from the EU Convention on Human Rights (written into UK law as the Human Rights Act 1998, if anyone cares).
     

    Yeah, a lot of the violations of important human rights (such as free speech/press) these days are committed by institutions with "Human Rights" in their names.  Very Orwellian.

     



  • @dtobias said:

    @intertravel said:

    Secondly, here in the UK this all comes from the EU Convention on Human Rights (written into UK law as the Human Rights Act 1998, if anyone cares).
     

    Yeah, a lot of the violations of important human rights (such as free speech/press) these days are committed by institutions with "Human Rights" in their names.  Very Orwellian.

    +1 Internets.



  • @dtobias said:

    @intertravel said:

    Secondly, here in the UK this all comes from the EU Convention on Human Rights (written into UK law as the Human Rights Act 1998, if anyone cares).
     

    Yeah, a lot of the violations of important human rights (such as free speech/press) these days are committed by institutions with "Human Rights" in their names.  Very Orwellian.

     

    Really? Can you name a single example?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    It's not Freedom of the Press's fault that people enjoy trash journalism, and it should not be curtailed for that reason. This judge is simply wrong.

    So, if a newspaper reporter sneaks up to your house and films you in the shower, then sticks photos in the newspaper, that's A-OK because of "freedom of the press"? I would suspect your answer would be no - despite it being pretty much the same case.

    The judge is quite correct in his decision - where Freedom of the Press conflicts with Right to Privacy, the Freedom of the Press is decided based on whether it is in the public interest to allow the publication. In this case, no, it is not. In the public interest doesn't mean "interesting to the public".



  • @intertravel said:

    Really? Can you name a single example?

    Gee! Maybe like the one I already named? In the original post, even? Canada's so-called Human Rights Commissions?

    Reading is fundamental!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @intertravel said:

    Firstly, let's be clear that these particular types of injunctions are only interim orders, intended to prevent details leaking out before a full privacy case comes to court.
    But that's not how they are being used is it? c.f Trafigura, et alia.

    @intertravel said:
    Exactly where the line should be drawn between the two is quite rightly a matter for the courts parliament.
    Judges should not be deciding what the laws are - their job is to enforce the ones that are already in place. The fact that this area is so grey is the fault of the politicians, and it should not be up to judges to decide that they'll fill in the gap.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Maybe someone in the UK can answer this-- does this injunction exist for everybody, not just the media? If I'm in the UK, not in the media, and thus wasn't informed about the secret injunction, am I committing a crime by talking about the event?

    The basic rule is that, if you know the 'fact' and you know that there is an injunction preventing publication of said fact, then you are committing a criminal offence if you were to publish that fact and are based in England or Wales (the injunctions in question were taken out under English and Welsh law); the offence is Contempt of Court.

    Injunctions are normally used in cases where the identify of someone needs to be kept private for their personal protection (for example, witnesses or the locations of witness in cases where there is a chance that they will be threatened with violence for testifying). The ones that have made the news more recently are due to aspects of the Human Rights Act, which allows for private lives to be kept private rather than plastered all over the morning newspapers.
    @blakeyrat said:

    I mean I know that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" but surely that doesn't apply to laws you can't look up in a public library. Does the UK government just assume if it's not in the media, nobody can ever know about it? Even though the foreign media is allowed to report it?

    The Human Rights Act is a law whose text is freely available. The principle of an injunction is also freely available. Even the injunction recently revealed has been public, albeit anonymised, for several weeks now on the legal site Bailii.org. 'Super-injunction' is a term coined by the media with no basis in law; it appears to mean that there is more than one injunction in place.
    @blakeyrat said:

    And how does Twitter, a US company, fit in to any of this? Did they just wuss-out and voluntarily censor the name, or did the UK government compel them to?

    CTB, who has been named in Parliament as Ryan Giggs, is trying to get the email and IP addresses of individuals who broke the injunction. The media has clouded it slightly by referring to him 'sueing' them; he's actually trying to use the court to compel them to provide him with this information, so he can then take action against them in the English and Welsh courts.

    Note - I am reporting a fact. The actual identity of CTB is still, at the time of writing, covered by an injunction and I am based in Wales, so to state a name as fact would be Contempt of Court, and possibly libel.

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @intertravel said:
    Really? Can you name a single example?

    Gee! Maybe like the one I already named? In the original post, even? Canada's so-called Human Rights Commissions?

    Reading is fundamental!

    OK, and can you give an actual example? Assume that we're not all familiar with whatever it is that you think they've done wrong.


  • @intertravel said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    @intertravel said:
    Really? Can you name a single example?

    Gee! Maybe like the one I already named? In the original post, even? Canada's so-called Human Rights Commissions?

    Reading is fundamental!

    OK, and can you give an actual example? Assume that we're not all familiar with whatever it is that you think they've done wrong.

    Regarding Canada's Human Rights Commission, linked from the wiki page that blakeyrat linked is another page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Human_Rights_Commission_free_speech_controversies



  • @adrianmw said:

    Note - I am reporting a fact. The actual identity of CTB is still, at the time of writing, covered by an injunction and I am based in Wales, so to state a name as fact would be Contempt of Court, and possibly libel. [b]Ryan Giggs.[/b]

    COCAPLTFY



  • @intertravel said:

    OK, and can you give an actual example? Assume that we're not all familiar with whatever it is that you think they've done wrong.

    Think they've done wrong? I can give you one where they were clearly in the wrong. Read up on the The Future Belongs to Islam case. (Yeah, I'm linking to Wiki, but it's a good summary of events.) The case was dismissed, only after it gained a significant amount of media attention.

    According to the law they were prosecuting, "Section 13.1", Intent is not a requirement, and truth or reasonable belief in the truth of the statement is not a defense. You could in theory be brought in front of this unelected commission and prosecuted for a typo. Hell, look at the list:

    • Third parties not involved in the alleged offences may nonetheless file complaints.
    • Plaintiffs have sometimes been given access to the commissions' investigation files and given the power to direct investigators.
    • Truth is not a defence.
    • Defendants are not always permitted to face their accusers.
    • Normal standards for assuring the validity of evidence do not apply.
    • Hearsay is admitted.
    • The government funds the plaintiff but the defendant is on his/her own

    The good news is that, and I didn't know this, but after Mark Steyn's case, apparently the Canadian Supreme Court neutered 13.1 so, which is isn't struck out of the commission's charter, it has basically ceased to be a relevant legal charge.



  • @adrianmw said:

    The Human Rights Act is a law whose text is freely available.

    Christ.

    The POINT is that even if you know the text of the law, you have no way of knowing what events are currently under such an injunction, and therefore could easily accidentally violate the law and be in Contempt of Court. (Just by reading a foreign newspaper and tweeting something you learned in it.) Moreover, if someone tried to advise you beforehand not to publish the fact, they would be in Contempt of Court.

    You don't find that utterly ridiculous?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @intertravel said:
    OK, and can you give an actual example? Assume that we're not all familiar with whatever it is that you think they've done wrong.

    Think they've done wrong? I can give you one where they were clearly in the wrong. Read up on the The Future Belongs to Islam case. (Yeah, I'm linking to Wiki, but it's a good summary of events.) The case was dismissed, only after it gained a significant amount of media attention.

    Well, it's probably typical Wikipedia bias, but none of that is in the article you linked to. Just says:

    The Canadian Human Rights Commission dismissed the federal complaint on June 26, 2008 without referring the matter to a tribunal.

    With regard to 13.1, I haven't read the legislation itself, but it's plain that all that's happening is that this organisation is applying the (badly written) law as it stands in Canada. They didn't make the law, so they're not the ones who eroded civil liberties.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @adrianmw said:
    The Human Rights Act is a law whose text is freely available.

    Christ.

    The POINT is that even if you know the text of the law, you have no way of knowing what events are currently under such an injunction, and therefore could easily accidentally violate the law and be in Contempt of Court. (Just by reading a foreign newspaper and tweeting something you learned in it.) Moreover, if someone tried to advise you beforehand not to publish the fact, they would be in Contempt of Court.

    You don't find that utterly ridiculous?

    Of course it's ridiculous. But as I pointed out, it's also wrong. You cannot accidentally violate a super-injunction. You can talk about the super-injunction. Apart from that, though...


  • @blakeyrat said:

    @adrianmw said:
    The Human Rights Act is a law whose text is freely available.

    Christ.

    The POINT is that even if you know the text of the law, you have no way of knowing what events are currently under such an injunction

    From another part of my post:

    @adrianmw said:

    The basic rule is that, if you know the 'fact' and you know that there is an injunction preventing publication of said fact, then you are committing a criminal offence

    If you don't know about the injunction, then in theory you cannot break it. And, self-fulfilling that that may sound, it is very unlikely that you will find out certain information without also discovering that there is also an injunction over it. To take the current example, how many people in the UK - outside his immediate circle of friends and family - knew about CTB's affair with Imogen Thomas but didn't know there was an injunction in place, even if they didn't know what an injunction actually was (never mind what the text of it actually says)?

    @blakeyrat said:

    Just by reading a foreign newspaper and tweeting something you learned in it.

    No, I believe that this would not be contempt. You will have shown no contempt of the court that issued the injunction.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Moreover, if someone tried to advise you beforehand not to publish the fact, they would be in Contempt of Court.

    I'm not sure about this one; after all, that is how the court would have notified the newspapers in the first place. Can you give a source for this one?

    @blakeyrat said:

    You don't find that utterly ridiculous?

    I find it facinating. The law doesn't follow the logic as someone in IT would understand it, and that's what makes it all the more interesting.

     



  • @adrianmw said:

    I find it facinating. The law doesn't follow the logic as someone in IT would understand it, and that's what makes it all the more interesting.
     

    Of course it doesn't. That's what lawyers are for! Looking for ways to somehow make the illogical logical in a court!

    Burgler slips on your floor while stealing your plasma TV is entitled to medical compensation from you? Lawyer logic!

    14 year old steals your keys and goes on a fatal joyride, which makes the automaker and you liable? Lawyer logic!

    Someone is mistrialed on a murder charge due to some nitpicky technicality that doesn't nullify the video evidence catching him red handed shooting his wife point blank in an alley requiring tax payers to foot the bill for a brand new trial? Lawyer Logic!



  • @intertravel said:

    Well, it's probably typical Wikipedia bias, but none of that is in the article you linked to. Just says:

    The Canadian Human Rights Commission dismissed the federal complaint on June 26, 2008 without referring the matter to a tribunal.

    They dismissed it on (what amounts to) a technicality, for the sole reason that they were getting hammered by the press. I'm mildly shocked you don't remember this happening... it was pretty big news, at least in Canada and the US.

    @intertravel said:

    With regard to 13.1, I haven't read the legislation itself, but it's plain that all that's happening is that this organisation is applying the (badly written) law as it stands in Canada.

    Oh yeah, "they were just following orders." That excuse always works! Look, if they were doing their duty as Government Officials, hell, their duty as Canadians, they would have responded to the first complaint with, "sorry, you do not have the right to not be offended" and dropped the case like a hot potato.

    @intertravel said:

    They didn't make the law, so they're not the ones who eroded civil liberties.

    I agree that the Government body who passed the legislation to create this commission in the first place did a great injustice, but that does nothing to excuse further injustices carried out by the commission itself.



  • When it comes to the three adjectives which describe people or things from Scotland:

    — If it's to do with the law or legal system, it's 'Scots' (Scots law, a Scots judge).

    — Otherwise, if it's whisky, eggs, mist, or tape (tape?), it's 'Scotch'.

    — Otherwise, it's 'Scottish.'



  • @PJH said:

    Judges should not be deciding what the laws are - their job is to enforce the ones that are already in place. The fact that this area is so grey is the fault of the politicians, and it should not be up to judges to decide that they'll fill in the gap.

    Actually, their job is to adjudicate on and interpret the law. But yes, where Parliament and the House of Lords leave gaps or inconsistencies in legislation, it is absolutely up to judges to decide upon and rule how those gaps/inconsistencies should be resolved, and thus to set a precedent for future cases.



  • @Cad Delworth said:

    @PJH said:
    Judges should not be deciding what the laws are - their job is to enforce the ones that are already in place. The fact that this area is so grey is the fault of the politicians, and it should not be up to judges to decide that they'll fill in the gap.

    Actually, their job is to adjudicate on and interpret the law. But yes, where Parliament and the House of Lords leave gaps or inconsistencies in legislation, it is absolutely up to judges to decide upon and rule how those gaps/inconsistencies should be resolved, and thus to set a precedent for future cases.

     

    To expand on that, lawmakers purposely make certain things vague just for this reason. The idea is if you set a whole bunch of criteria as to what constitutes a violation of the law, then it inevitably opens a whole pile of possible unforeseen loopholes and ways around it. Consider, for example, a seemingly simple law against shoplifting. What defines shoplifting?

     - Leaving a store with an unpaid item.

    That's it. The lawmakers have just made their law against shoplifting. Now, a man is brought to trial for shoplifting, and he has made his case that the clerk simply forgot to scan the item and he hadn't noticed it until he got home. The judge looks at the evidence and believes this man's account. Now, the letter of the law clearly states that he still was guilty of shoplifting but the judge still needs to take account the circumstances behind this violation and make a decision on the man's fate. The judge acquits the man on the grounds that he had the intention of paying for the item by approaching the clerk with his other items, and made no effort in hiding the unpaid item, thus setting a precedent that will effectively "amend" the law (even though the law itself will remain simply, "Leaving a store with an unpaid item"). Defense attorneys will make reference to this particular case and try to apply it to their own trials against defendants who were similarly unfairly arrested for what was really negligence on the part of the store clerk.

    If lawmakers tried to find every single possible way to "exempt" a shoplifted item it will not only make the process of passing a law monumentally longer, but will also be flawed in that it still cannot account for every possible scenario that might constitute an exception to the law. This is why the process of appointing a judge is very important in the political system: They aren't only there to consider evidence and see if it qualifies as a violation of the law, but they also are expected to use some intelligent discretion to see if it really is "fair" to follow what is written to the letter.

    Now, does this mean the system works? I've seen many court decisions which made me think if the judge was from another planet, but there have been many important decisions made which has made a good model for future decisions made by future cases.


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