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Chapter

Cover Civil Liberties & Human Rights

7. Freedom of Expression (Article 10) I: Official Secrets and Freedom of Information  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on series provide an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This chapter discusses the law governing official secrets and freedom of information. It covers arguments for the protection of freedom of expression; arguments for and against official secrecy; official secrecy under the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998); the Official Secrets Acts 1911–1920; the Official Secrets Act 1989; the action for breach of confidence; breach of confidence under HRA 1998; and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights Law Directions

17. Article 10: freedom of expression  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. It discusses European Convention law and relates it to domestic law under the HRA. Questions, discussion points, and thinking points help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress and knowledge can be tested by self-test questions and exam questions at the chapter end. This chapter focuses on Article 10, one of the fundamental rights acknowledged in a liberal, democratic society—freedom of expression. Article 10 is a qualified right which reflects the idea that there can be important and legitimate reasons as to why freedom of expression may need to be restricted in order to protect other important rights and freedoms. While the first paragraph of Article 10 establishes a general right to freedom of expression, its second paragraph identifies the only bases upon which the right can be restricted. Restriction of the freedom of expression is subject to scrutiny by the courts, and its necessity must be established by the state. In particular the chapter discusses human rights in the context of political speech and the impact of restraints on hate speech.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights Law Directions

20. Applications: police powers  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. It discusses European Convention law and relates it to domestic law under the HRA. Questions, discussion points, and thinking points help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress and knowledge can be tested by self-test questions and exam questions at the chapter end. This chapter focuses on the authority of the police in the United Kingdom and on issues which are affected by human rights law under the HRA. Police powers are exercised with the authority of both common law and statute—the latter (e.g. the Police and Public Evidence Act 1984) must be interpreted for compatibility with Convention rights so far as section 3 HRA allows. The police are considered a ‘core’ public authority, and policing is self-evidently a public function. The following sections also discuss the extensive powers of the police in relation to, in particular, Article 5, regarding arrest and detention, and Article 8, regarding searches and seizure. English and Welsh courts adjudicating on these powers have generally found them to be compatible with Convention rights at the general level. Some important cases, such as over the retention, storage and use of personal data, have led to disagreements with Strasbourg and consequential changes to the law.