Posts In Category

Law

Photo credit: R/DV/RS (Creative Commons)

Complex situations often require us to take a step back for what consultants call the 10,000 feet view. The problems facing the EU these days—from Grexit to Brexit—surely seem impenetrable. A convoluted potpourri of economic, financial, and political crises leaves most observers either completely disengaged or increasingly reliant on their gut feelings. To wrap one’s head around the forces that threaten the European project, it helps to think in very simple categories: exit, voice, and loyalty. Few theories still prompt real-life insights almost half a century after their publication. Albert O. Hirschman’s “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty” surely falls into this category. Put simply, Hirschman postulated that members who are unsatisfied with an organisation they are part of, can either exit …

In this Q&A, I discuss the prospects for ‘unfreezing’ the draft new constitution with Hordur Torfason, the award-winning human rights activist credited with starting Iceland’s ‘pots and pans revolution’. You’re credited as the person who started the “pots and pans revolution” in Iceland. How did the protests start? I’m 70 years old this year. I started becoming an activist around 20 years old. Not that I wanted to become an activist, not at all. But I’m gay and it tells you a story that I’m the first gay man in the history of Iceland who steps forward. When I was 30 years old I was very famous. Everybody knew my song. I was on television, radio, doing concerts, LPs. I was …

That in 2015, we still commemorate an agreement between the king and the barons of England reached 800 years ago, probably on the 15th June 1215, is a cause for wonder. Magna Carta, the Great Charter, as that agreement has come to be known, is held to be a milestone in the course of western constitutional thought. Its place in English jurisprudence is secure, but, while prominent, hardly matches the reverence it is shown on the other side of the Atlantic. Among the range of subjects covered by Magna Carta, three stand out for their constitutional importance: liberty, the rule of law and due process in the administration of justice, and taxation. On liberty: Chapters 39 is most famous in protecting liberty from arbitrary arrest and related …

800 years of Magna Carta but learning disabled people remain ‘villeins’, denied rights against arbitrary power. What would a Magna Carta for learning disabled people look like? Who are the ‘villeins’ today? No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way,  nor will be proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no-one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice. 800 years ago this set of freedoms was made law. Although Magna Carta is widely believed to have been …

Ending what has been a tumultuous six-month long negotiation process, last week the Greek Parliament approved the first package of austerity measures required by Greece’s creditors as part of the “Greekment” reached in the early morning hours of 13 July 2015 in order to initiate talks on a Third Fiscal Adjustment Programme (or “Memorandum”) and avoid Greece’s expulsion from the Eurozone. According to early reports, this Memorandum cover the Greece’s financing needs for the next three years, but will require the harshest set of austerity measures of the three fiscal adjustment programmes to date. In this first package alone, the Greek government is obliged to implement tax increases and pension cuts totalling approximately 2% of GDP, while future austerity measures …

Last week the government published its detailed proposals for introducing English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) into the House of Commons. This is a significant moment in our constitutional history primarily because these changes reflect the acceptance of the need to institutionalise a collective English interest in the legislature, and the conviction that there is a growing and legitimate sense of grievance concerning England’s position within the UK. The primary rationale offered for introducing EVEL is to bring Westminster up to date with the implications of devolution elsewhere within the UK. In a context where further devolution is anticipated for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, it is becoming harder to ignore demands that English interests be given greater consideration in parliament. The …

Our rights are being infringed more and more on every side, and the danger is that we get used to it. So I want to use the 25th anniversary for us all to do that, to take the web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years…. “But we need our lawyers and our politicians to understand programming, to understand what can be done with a computer.[1] – Sir Tim Berners-Lee   The above quote should come as no surprise to anyone with even a passing interest in digital rights. In recent times there has been growing interest by governments in how to respond to the sort of modern social problems that …

One of the Internet’s most awe-inducing features is its ability to serve up whatever piece of content you need, whenever you need it. Whether you’re looking for videos of cats riding Roombas, the translated poetry of Goethe or the song of a nightingale, the Internet, thanks to the incredible resources of the World Wide Web, will dish up whatever you’re after. Of course, insofar as online content mirrors our offline imperfections, it’s equally easy to find less salubrious material. As with many other technologies before it, the Internet has provided a new platform for pornographic content, and whatever your sexual predilections, you will find an ample store of online content to meet every desire. Unsurprisingly, this leads to no small …