The Independent View: Countdown to the Election

Lib Dem Voice has received this article from Matrix Chambers, a law firm that specialises in election law. It offers the opportunity to sign up for weekly briefings during the election period.

It’s trite to say, but we are just weeks away from the most important General Election in a generation – especially for those interested in election law. The culture of fighting elections – and the public’s role within that – has changed in recent years owing to new technology. There is now also new (and untested) legislation restricting the actions of professional third party campaigners.

Historically, the regulation of elections was largely based around the idea that candidates and their parties had the monopoly on campaign means and methods – and so can and should be held accountable for the actions of their supporters. However, it’s never been easier for people to campaign publicly for or against a party or candidate, or to set up their own pressure group, easily co-ordinated through social media and online. For a long time now, anyone with a computer and printer has been in a position to publish hundreds of leaflets cheaply and privately.

Alongside this, as trust in politicians has dipped, third party endorsements have become more and more important to candidates – whether from celebrities, NGOs, or voters’ friends and neighbours – parties are doing what they can to encourage their supporters to take up the war of words directly.  So, over the next 6 weeks, we’ll be looking at the vital issue of freedom of expression at election time in more detail as part of Matrix’s Countdown to the election briefings. These will be sent out each Friday by email and published on our election law practice area page.

The six briefings on a series of topics are: (1) the protection of political expression; (2) lobbying and third-party campaigning; (3) election offences; (4) coverage of election campaigns; (5) party political broadcasts; and (6) defamation and privacy.

In the first edition, Antony White QC and Anthony Hudson QC will be looking at freedom of speech & article 10: the protection of political expression – you can find the full briefing here.

We hope you enjoy this week’s edition; next week we’ll be looking at lobbying and third party campaigning. Please get in touch if you have comments, questions, or if you or anyone else would like to receive these briefings.

* Anthony Fairclough is head of Matrix’s legal information and research team and is an editor of and contributor to the UK Supreme Court Blog.

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This entry was posted in The Independent View.
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2 Comments

  • Interesting article from Anthony Fairclough of Matrix. I followed some of the links. It would take me the next seven weeks to read half of what is contained in this very rich contribution.

    My eyes did get drawn to this —
    “… Carina Trimingham v Associated Newspapers Ltd.35,
    the Court held that the claimant was a not a private individual because of her work as the press officer of one of the leading politicians in the country.”

    A timely reminder for anyone involved in media work for the party over the next few weeks. 🙁

  • James BLESSING 30th Mar '15 - 4:45pm

    Of course their are other sources of news about what you can/’t do in the next 6 weeks…

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