Friday 22 April 2011

Super And Hyper Injunctions

The use of judge made injunctions being made out of court on the representations of one party is again getting an airing in the media and amongst the bloggers. They are designed to stop any publicity or comment on a subject in a way that would either identify particular the persons or lead to discussion or comment on their conduct.

On Saturday 3rd October 2009 in “Libel Laws, Financial Losses, Life and Liberty” I have already said something that time largely political on the run in to the impending election. My real concern this time round is not with the privacy of sportsmen, famous entertainers or the “celebrities” that are making use of them.

Given a national media that gives so much attention to them because they provide the filling for their advertising sheets and programmes that may or may not provide news or real discussion it is easy to see why the injunctions matter to them.

There are other serious issues beyond the lives and habits of this class. One is that much of our political class is now enmeshed with them and becoming reliant on their endorsements to gain coverage or interest in the media. There are now “hyper” ones giving “contra mundum” that is anything anywhere by anybody.

As our politicians ask us to give them power on the basis of their trustworthiness and capability a legal system that deprives us of crucial information that would enable us to take a more informed view of this is a disaster.

If an MP person A claims to be in favour of promoting or enforcing something and it turns out that they are major shareholders in a network of companies based in another regime whose banking facilities are obscure and making vast profits untaxed we might reconsider voting for them.

At present all person A has to do is to pick up the phone to the brief who then picks up the phone and talks to a friendly judge. You and I will not know a thing. Also politicians who parade their families in front of the cameras and allow planted stories of the wonders of their family life can stop stories about them owning knocking shops in Mayfair, playing away or their children freeloading or misbehaving.

This is bad, but there is worse. There is the story of an academic mathematician with an interest in the financial sector. It seems he examined complex formulae used as a basis for trading activity by Hedge Funds and found them wanting. There was no suggestion of fraud or malpractice of knowing misleading by the Funds. It was just that they blindly followed a flawed system.

His findings were stopped from publication by a Hedge Fund on the grounds of its reputation and consequential liability to civil suits for negligence. The same applies to many scientists and others in the UK who have qualms or serious doubts about certain products widely marketed. Some of them have already inflicted death and serious damage.

But it is impossible to publicise these doubts because those making them will be ruined and so will their employers be damaged even if they turn out to be right in court. It might explain the deep reluctance of many bodies, scientists and others to either give an honest opinion or even seek to have public discussion.

What is even more disturbing is the increasing attempt by official bodies to put their affairs and actions beyond any form of criticism, examination, discussion or even the attention of other courts and Parliament.

This is not liberty, equality, fraternity or any form of democracy. It is the unchecked rule of a new autocracy backed by a handful of judges. But what exactly do we know about those judges?

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