Sunday, June 26, 2011

Matthew Taylor on the courts and privacy

No, not that Matthew Taylor. Or that one either, come to think of it.

I am talking about the Liverpool Conservative (I once unkindly suggested we should have him stuffed) blogger who writes MTPT, stoopid. In a recent blog post he says:
Judge-made law – like the current law of privacy in the UK – is able to advance by small incremental steps, without properly engaging with the broader impacts of its emergent principles. Unlike judge-made law, any statutory privacy law has to begin by decide what principles it proposes to follow, and then engaging with the effects of those principles when applied to other areas – such as the reporting of evidence in criminal trials.

In developing the law of privacy in the UK, the civil judiciary have in practice (given the reality of the costs of civil litigation) created a privileged position for wealthy claimants, and for participants in family court proceedings. Participants in criminal cases, or those who cannot afford to spend several thousand pounds on legal advice and representation, do not have proper access to the law of privacy that has been developed.

Put it more simply: A footballer covering up his infidelity is afforded greater protection by the English Courts than the father of a murdered child.
Matthew shares my concern that, in his words, "the law of privacy has been without debate or public engagement".

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