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Judge Harvey weighs in on anti-bullying plan

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

I’m flattered to see that one of Judge David Harvey’s first blog posts is a thoughtful commentary on my proposal to deal with online bullying (which is actually a variation on the Law Commission’s proposal). I think this is an important debate, not least because the government has indicated that it wants to take action […]


Saturday, April 7th, 2012

It seems that pretty much all the discussion about copyright these days is about the new online infringement laws. But I want to talk about another copyright issue that I think poses, on paper anyway, a bigger threat to free speech: the surprisingly narrow reach of our fair dealing defences. I say “on paper” because […]

Silly old TVNZ

Friday, January 27th, 2012

This is why I don’t like doing TV. I gave TVNZ news an interview on the teapot saga yesterday, explaining my views as below that the risk is low for anyone who publishes the contents of the tape. Their broadcast asserts as a fact that “we can’t broadcast what was said for legal reasons”. Later […]

Law Commission’s new media paper

Monday, December 12th, 2011

The Law Commission has issued an issues paper on reform of news media and new media regulation. This isn’t a final report; they’re looking for feedback on their proposals. I think it’s a thougthful and well-researched paper. It’s very much alive to the problems of online regulation and the importance of free speech and the […]

Free speech vs privacy

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

A New Mexico man puts up a billboard of himself holding the outline of a baby, saying: This Would Have Been a Picture Of My 2-Month Old Baby If The Mother Had Decided To NOT KILL Our Child! His ex-partner (who says she had a miscarriage not an abortion) sues for harrassment and invasion of […]

Tweeting in court

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

The English Chief Justice, Lord Judge (yep, that’s his name), has laid down some interim guidelines on tweeting in court. In short, he suggests that tweeting won’t usually prejudice the administration of justice, so it seems that permission should usually be granted. On the other hand, in some circumstances there may be reason to ban […]

Double jeopardy?

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Is the Law Commission being tasked with a job already farmed out to the Dean of VUW’s law school? The Attorney-General engaged VUW dean Tony Smith to write a paper on our contempt of court laws, including the ways in which they are being affected by the internet. Is it undermining confidence in court orders, […]

The Devil’s in the detail

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

How often do you check those website boxes that say “I’ve read the terms and conditions below and agree to them”? Now, how often do you actually read the terms and conditions? Me neither. Had we signed up to Gamestation on April Fool’s day, we would have been agreeing to this: By placing an order […]

What can Crown lawyers say to the media?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

The Crown Law Office has put out a very sensible, but rather general, protocol containing guidance for prosecutors when dealing with media inquiries. It doesn’t mention civil proceedings, but it does apply to the Crown Law Office itself, and the general principles at the beginning seem broad enough to cover civil cases too. It makes […]

Twittering in the courtroom

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

It’s been allowed in the US and Australia, with an Australian judge saying: I believe that the public has a legitimate right to be fully informed of proceedings, particularly proceedings such as (the iiNet case), which have attracted considerable public interest. Twittering can serve to inform the public in a more speedy and comprehensive manner […]

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