Freedom of expression, a comparative-law perspective - The United Kingdom

24-10-2019

This study forms part of a wider-ranging project which seeks to lay the groundwork for comparisons between legal frameworks governing freedom of expression in different legal systems. The document will analyse, with reference to the United Kingdom and the subject at hand, the legislation in force, the most relevant case law and the concept of freedom of expression with its current and prospective limits, ending with some conclusions and possible solutions for future challenges. In the absence of formal constitutional protection for freedom of expression, the approach of the UK is residual in nature. That is to say, the extent of a person’s freedom of expression is what is left after statutory and common law (judge-made) incursions into the freedom. Notwithstanding the passage of the Human Rights Act 1998, it remains the case that the UK Parliament is free to modify and restrict freedom of expression.

This study forms part of a wider-ranging project which seeks to lay the groundwork for comparisons between legal frameworks governing freedom of expression in different legal systems. The document will analyse, with reference to the United Kingdom and the subject at hand, the legislation in force, the most relevant case law and the concept of freedom of expression with its current and prospective limits, ending with some conclusions and possible solutions for future challenges. In the absence of formal constitutional protection for freedom of expression, the approach of the UK is residual in nature. That is to say, the extent of a person’s freedom of expression is what is left after statutory and common law (judge-made) incursions into the freedom. Notwithstanding the passage of the Human Rights Act 1998, it remains the case that the UK Parliament is free to modify and restrict freedom of expression.