Author Archives: Ben Boult

Opinion: Three small ways in which a British Bill of Rights could improve on the Human Rights Act 1998

Every_Canadian_Needs_A_Copy

The title of this piece is fairly self-explanatory. As such, I shall get straight into the substance of my proposals:

1) Whereas any interference with a person’s human rights must be “necessary in a democratic society” according to the Human Rights Act 1998, let’s replace this test with “necessary in a free and democratic society” in the forthcoming British Bill of Rights

In recent years, it has become apparent that many in political life, as well as in our judiciary, would benefit from a liberal nudge when it comes to deciding cases involving our civil liberties. For the sake of brevity, I am not going to revisit every controversy in this regard, but suffice it to say, the Brown Government’s proposals for 42 days pre-charge detention, the Coalition’s plans to sanction “annoying and nuisance” behaviours in public places and the current Government’s proposals to turn Ofcom into a censor rather than review body were / are extremely concerning given our cherished status as a free country.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments

Opinion: Criminal laws are freezing out freedom of speech

Much has been made of the “chilling effect” of British defamation laws on public debate in recent years. Given that backdrop, the lack of furore over our criminal, as opposed to civil, regulations of speech is rather difficult to understand.

Quite arguably, the chilling effect of these so-called ‘speech offences’ has been even more pervasive, akin to a Siberian winter at times, due to the woefully inadequate safeguards and catch-all wording that characterises almost each and every one of …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 13 Comments
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