Public Law

I am prompted to write not only because Paul’s post of yesterday has now been superseded but also by the debate heard on this morning’s Today Programme about whether John Hemming MP should have named Ryan Giggs in Parliament yesterday. Is it just tribalism – another lawyer going native – which makes me side with Lords Lester and Mackay of Clashfern who expressed some outrage that parliamentarians should use the immunities conferred by parliamentary privilege to undermine orders of the courts? I prefer to think I’m motivated by a worry about the constitutional implications of what’s happened in the last week – and was singularly unimpressed by the MP who suggested that the issue was now about judges trying to interfere with absolute privilege. Apparently MPs shouldn’t have their freedom of speech fettered by anyone. In my best Miss Jean Brodie voice I said out loud to the radio “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” A lesson which might be learned by some of those who have (allegedly) sought super injunctions…

Christine O'Neill

Partner & Chairman at Brodies LLP
Christine is Chairman of Brodies LLP and leads our Public Law Litigation and Parliamentary team. She has considerable experience of parliamentary and public law work and has a special interest in administrative law, devolution and human rights. Christine has advised variety of clients on legislative procedure in the Scottish Parliament, particularly in relation to alcohol and tobacco regulation.
Christine O'Neill

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