UK Constitutional Law Association

Two days after the Court of Appeal granted an interim injunction restraining reportage of harassment allegations against a high-profile businessman (ABC v Telegraph Media Group Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 2329), Lord Hain named the individual involved, in the House of Lords under parliamentary privilege. This enabled the media to identify him in their reporting on parliamentary proceedings. That is how one politician nullified the reasoned decision of three senior judges.

Lord Hain’s actions were an unconstitutional abuse of parliamentary privilege because they undermine two pillars of the constitution: the rule of law, and the separation of powers. Parliament’s absolute privilege of freedom of expression is an historic, vital element of the constitution, but it does not exist to facilitate subversion of judicial orders by politicians. In taking away an individual’s entitlement to due process, Lord Hain has undermined the integrity and authority of the judiciary. It falls upon…

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