24th February 2014 16:30 by Will Tovey
Will Tovey - Legal Researcher and Party Governor
As has been widely reported (BBC, Daily Mail, Guardian, Telegraph) the Court of Appeal has approved the use of "whole life tariffs" for murderers, seemingly contradicting the European Court of Human Rights. But as the reporting seems to miss some of subtleties of the judgment it is worth a closer look.
tl;dr: the ECtHR thought English law was unclear as they were getting different messages from the Government and Courts - the Court of Appeal said this was fine as the Government was wrong and could be ignored.
The full judgment from the case is available here: R v McLoughlin  EWCA Crim 188
22nd June 2012 01:00 by Will Tovey
After many years of campaigning, Parliament is finally debating a new Defamation Bill. Defamation (covering libel and slander) is about protecting a person's reputation, and balancing that right against the general freedom of expression. Over the last few years English libel law has become infamous around the world for its chilling effect on free speech, ease of use to silence criticism (informal, political and academic) and its disproportionate costs.
The new Bill attempts to tackle some of these issues. But while it is a step in the right direction, it mainly codifies the existing law rather than significantly improving it. There are still some major problems with the current text and while it is being debated in the House of Commons we have a chance to try to fix it before it becomes law. To do this, we need you to write to your MP, highlighting the major problems. If nothing else, please ask them to read through the memorandum the Party submitted to the Public Bill Committee, the key points of which are outlined below.
28th January 2012 00:00 by Will Tovey
Earlier today, Loz Kaye, leader of the Pirate Party, published a statement highlighting a major threat to the Internet, to civil liberties, and our political and legal systems; ACTA. Following this, the Party has received many requests asking what we, ordinary citizens can do about this, and the best way to stop it.
- Raise awareness of ACTA - make sure people know that it exists and the danger it poses.
- Contact your MEPs, urging them to vote against it when they get the chance to (in June, for most of them).
- Contact your local MP (or MSPs, AMs and councillors, if you have them), letting them know about ACTA, and why it should be stopped.
- Join over 600,000 people across the world in signing AVAAZ's petition against ACTA.
- Openly support any of the many organisations campaigning against ACTA, and encourage others to do so as well.
Follow the link below to access the full version, with details on what has already happened, who to contact, how and when to contact them, and what to say.
25th July 2011 15:15 by Will Tovey
In the last week there have been three stories in the news concerning copyright infringement and "illegal websites". In each case, a group with an interest in enforcing copyright has called for or announced measures against such websites, but this raises an important question of what makes a website illegal. In terms of copyright infringement this is a very tricky question as there is no easy way to tell whether content or a service is unlawful.
25th May 2011 01:30 by Will Tovey
Privacy law in the UK is fairly simple but its application is confusing, and this confusion has not been helped by recent events. Over the last few weeks we have seen intense criticism of the law, and its application by the judiciary, coming from politicians, the media and even the Prime Minister. Not everything being reported by any of these groups is entirely accurate. While this post will attempt to clarify the law to some degree, for a more complete picture, the recent European Court of Human Rights judgment in Mosley v The United Kingdom has a thorough outline of the law, and the Committee on Super-Injunctions produced a very thorough report on the current situation.