The Leveson Report, the result of the Leveson enquiry on press law, has been published today. The Guardian summarizes:
Leveson said that his proposed new law would enshrine “for the first time” a “legal duty on the government to protect the freedom of the press”. It would also allow the new body to set up a low-cost libel and privacy tribunal to handle complaints instead of the courts – and provide “benefits in law” to those who signed up. Those who do not sign up would be denied the ability to reclaim the often substantial costs of litigation – even if they win – from complainants bringing libel, privacy or other media related actions.
The question now is: why do so many people who should know better think that Lord Justice Leveson is a lord?
A Lord Justice is a judge in the Court of Appeal.
Judges in the House of Lords were Lords. Now the court is the Supreme Court.
Thus Dame Anne Judith Rafferty is a Lord Justice of Appeal (plural apparently Lord Justices).
Judge John Neilan is a judge at a district court in Ireland. That is similar to an Amtsrichter in Germany. There are judges like this in all countries, I should think. I have seen a couple of links recently to his pronouncements. They were found after an incident last week in which a solicitor accidentally hit him with a shotgun pellet when demonstrating an air pistol in court.
Here’s an article about his earlier claims to fame:
His manner of administrating the law is unusual. His role allows him propound at will from the bench, often on matters that are outside the function of his office.
Last Thursday was a typical day. Mid morning, a Latvian man appears on a drink driving charge. An interpreter, a regular presence in district courts these days, steps forward. Earlier this year, the judge opined that eastern Europeans should be charged for the service of interpreters.
The defendant doesn’t have a solicitor and wants to know how much one would cost.
“I’ve no idea, ” Judge Neilan says. “Four or five hundred euro. When I was doing it 35 years ago you had to wait for a fair day to get a few bob.” He then tells the interpreter not to bother translating the last bit.
A young Estonian man is up on a charge of petty larceny from a shop. Judge Neilan begins another speech. “There was a Latvian gentleman in Longford a few months ago who was destitute and I asked him did he want to go home instead. I contacted the department and they said there were no resources. Nobody would pay. These offences occur because this man has no resources. If he wants to go home I have no difficulty with that. People are coming from these countries and they quickly fall down.”
The judge then enquires if the man wants to go home, and the interpreter replies he doesn’t.
“No harm in trying, ” the judge says.
Business owners try (successfully) to stave off being wound up:
‘It aint our fault, the stoopid court froze the bank account so we cuddent pay the stoopid bill could we, but we done it today some’ow like’
The other director chipped in ‘Yeah, our account is managed by the banking equivalent of Mr Bean’
Everyone looked at the judge. Possibly because these two guys looked as if they meant business and would beat up anyone who would disagree with them.
The judge looked up ‘I am afraid that you will find that the whole British banking system is being run by the equivalent of Mr Bean!’
From an entry about winding up day at the law courts in London by Swiss Tony.
Another entry on the same topic by Paranoid Pupil.