Law Revision

The time has come and I've nearly finished the first semester. But firstly there are exams, actually they are called 'tests'. After today's lecture Chris reassured me with his explanation that as long as you study something you are interested in you will be able to pass the exam. Exams aka 'tests' freak me out so I'm hoping some notes on here will help. Anyway here is a brief overview of what may be covered.

The highest court is the supreme court.

In crown court the functions are: to hear criminal cases and hear appeals. This is where the criminal offences are dealt with.
Criminal cases are offences against society and the state such as murder.
Civil cases are disputes between two people, divorce, compensation, injunctions etc

A magistrates court is where all cases begin for the magistrate to decide whether the case has enough evidence to proceed to crown court if it is needed.
In magistrates court a Journalist can report:
Who the person is, who is charged and identify them using positive identification.
You can add details such as age and address BUT not if it's about a sexual offence. 
You can also report that fact that there is no Jury.
Whether the defendant has appealed for bail and whether the judge has given bail BUT You can't explain why bail hasn't been given as this may cause prejudice in a case as an act of contempt.

Contempt of court is denying people a fair trial. Anything that prevents a trial from running smoothly could result with imprisonment or a heavy fine.

Statute Law is law that has been inacted in parliament.

A crime becomes legally active once the police tell you that a person has been charged. Only once they are charged that the case becomes active and Journalists have statutory qualified privilege.

After an arrest you can report: The persons name using positive identification.

Defamation and Libel
Libel is:
  • Identification
  • Publication
  • Defamation.
 Defamatory is exposing someone to hatred, ridicule and contempt. If you have caused a person to be shunned and avoided or caused prejudice about them.

Defences for libel:
  • Fair comment
  • Justification
  • Qualified privilege.
Examples of libel cases could be Chris Jefferies case :)

Qualified Privilege.
There are two types
  • Statutory Qualified Privilege- in court and in parliament.
  • Common Law Privilege- local meetings/ galleries that have an act of parliament.
Absolute Privilege when a report from court is fast accurate and fair, and published without malice.
Albert Reynolds' libel case is significant for journalists. Lord Nicholls who spoke in the House of Lords put together a list of circumstances that would help clarify the defence. The 10 point test.

  • The purpose of copyright is to licence your own work and to give it protection. Once something has been written produced and published you own it.
  • Ideas do not have copyright.
  • Fair dealing means you can lift quotes and take snippets of  someones work as long as you attribute it, and make it clear the work isn't your own.
There are three main areas of concern and you must not report
  • State secrets, such as military information.
  • Commercial secrets, these are vital for B2B (business to business) such as health.
  • Privacy, family life and injunctions for example. In the Human Rights act everyone has the rights to private life and family life. We can only report on private matters when it is in 'clear public duty', with consent and if it is significantly in the public interest.
Codes of Conduct
  • OFCOM is for broadcasting and is statutory regulation.
  • PCC is a self regulatory body for print.
  • Impartiality means being obviously politically one sided. A newspaper can be left, right wing and express there political views. In broadcasting it must be politically neutral.
  • Reporting for elections, danger zone. You must not be bias, give each party equal broadcasting time and you must not express your own opinion.
Correct me if I'm wrong :)
Or if I've missed anything important,

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