Posted: December 30th, 2015
You are asked to propose a reform. Be clear about what this is.
This could be your own original idea or based upon (but not simply copying) reforms suggested by others or used elsewhere (ie in other jurisdictions).
May focus on either privacy or defamation.
You may propose statutory reform or development of the common law in a particular direction.
May be for a major reform (e.g. recognise a novel “intrusion” tort) or something far more modest (e.g. an adjustment to the way in which one aspect of a balancing test is applied).
But be aware of the space you have – 2,000 words is not much to do anything too complex!
Could conceivably be on a matter affecting both privacy and defamation – but this is not required and may lead you into pretty complex territory.
You must justify your proposed reform.
Why is it needed?
Does it plug a gap in existing rights protection?
Does it address an imbalance?
Will it lead to greater coherence?
Does it make English law tally up with relevant theory?
You must defend your proposed reform against potential criticism. Consider how and by whom it might be objected-to. Can you draw upon relevant theory to defend it (theoretical justification)? Does it represent a better reading of domestic/European authority (a doctrinal justification)?
Reforms often follow the appearance of something undesirable in the law.
Defamation Act 2013 – single publication rule
Contempt of Court Act 1981 (coming up next term) – response to Sunday Times v UK
Campbell v MGN – response triggered by HRA 1998 to lacuna in law of confidence
Gulati – extension of the law following phone hacking revelations
Either regarding privacy or defamation issues
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