Free Speech in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Fraser v Evans
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 03 Oct 1968

    The Court will not restrain the publication of an article, even though it is defamatory, when the defendant says he intends to justify it or to make fair comment on a matter of public interest. That has been established for many years ever since ( Bonnard v. Ferryman 1891 2 Ch. 269). But a better reason is the importance in the public interest that the truth should out.

  • Hubbard v Pitt
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 13 May 1975

    Finally, the real grievance of the plaintiffs is about the placards and leaflets. To restrain these by an interlocutory injunction would be contrary to the principle laid down by the Court 85 years ago in Bonnard v. Perryman (1891) 2 Ch. 269, repeatedly applied ever since. They should not interfere by interlocutory injunction with the right to demonstrate and to protest any more than they interfere with the right of free speech; provided that everything is done peacably and in good order.

  • R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Simms
    • House of Lords
    • 08 Jul 1999

    The free flow of information and ideas informs political debate. It is a safety valve: people are more ready to accept decisions that go against them if they can in principle seek to influence them. It acts as a brake on the abuse of power by public officials. It facilitates the exposure of errors in the governance and administration of justice of the country: see Stone, Seidman, Sunstein and Tushnett, Constitutional Law, 3rd ed., (1996), 1078-1086.

    The value of free speech in a particular case must be measured in specifics. For example, no prisoner would ever be permitted to have interviews with a journalist to publish pornographic material or to give vent to so-called hate speech. In principle it is not easy to conceive of a more important function which free speech might fulfil.

    Fundamental rights cannot be overridden by general or ambiguous words. This is because there is too great a risk that the full implications of their unqualified meaning may have passed unnoticed in the democratic process. In the absence of express language or necessary implication to the contrary, the courts therefore presume that even the most general words were intended to be subject to the basic rights of the individual.

  • Attorney General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd and Others (No. 2)
    • House of Lords
    • 13 Oct 1988

    The only difference is that, whereas article 10 of the Convention, in accordance with its avowed purpose, proceeds to state a fundamental right and then to qualify it, we in this country (where everybody is free to do anything, subject only to the provisions of the law) proceed rather upon an assumption of freedom of speech, and turn to our law to discover the established exceptions to it.

  • Re S (A Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication)
    • House of Lords
    • 28 Oct 2004

    What does, however, emerge clearly from the opinions are four propositions. First, neither article has as such precedence over the other. Secondly, where the values under the two articles are in conflict, an intense focus on the comparative importance of the specific rights being claimed in the individual case is necessary. Thirdly, the justifications for interfering with or restricting each right must be taken into account. For convenience I will call this the ultimate balancing test.

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Legislation
  • Value Added Tax Act 1994
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1994
    ...... S-17 . Free zone regulations. 17 Free zone regulations. . (1) This section applies ...and reproduction of speech for the blind or severely. handicapped; . (b) apparatus designed or ......
  • Education Reform Act 1988
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1988
    ......(8) above is available for inspection (at all reasonable times. and free of charge) at the school. S-43 . Application of schemes to special ...SCH-12.100 . 100.   . (1) Section 43 of that Act (freedom of speech in educational. establishments) shall be amended as follows. . (2) In ......
  • Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1900
    ...... such disallowance on being made known by the Governor-General by speech or message to each of the Houses of the Parliament, or by Proclamation, ...S-92 . Trade within the Commonwealth to be free. 92 Trade within the Commonwealth to be free. . 92. On the imposition of ......
  • Education (No. 2) Act 1986
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1986
    ......all persons employed at the school are given (free of. charge) a copy of the governors' report;. .   . ( b . ) copies of ... Miscellaneous Part IV . Miscellaneous . S-43 . Freedom of speech in universities, polytechnics and colleges. 43 Freedom of speech in ......
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Books & Journal Articles
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