Archive for the 'International law' Category

Sep 03 2010

Beyond parody: Miss World and South Lanarkshire

Published by under Info law,International law,Scots law

I’ve said before that Mr Justice Albie Sachs of the South African Constitutional Court is one of the great judges of our time. One of his great writings is his concurring opinion in the case of Laugh It Off Promotions CC v South African Breweries International (Finance) BV, [2005] ZACC 7, in which he posed the question “Does the law have a sense of humour?”. This was an action by a beer distributor in which, to use his words,

a graduate of a course in journalism decided to do battle with a number of corporate giants, calling his enterprise Laugh it Off and arming himself with T-shirts bearing parodied images and words brazenly pilfered from his opponents. One of his victims, South African Breweries [SAB], saw one of its well-known trademarks reproduced on T-shirts for public sale. The words ‘Black Label’ and ‘Carling Beer’, which accompanied the logo were transformed into ‘Black Labour’ and ‘White Guilt’. In smaller lettering the slogans, ‘America’s Lusty Lively Beer’ and ‘Brewed in South Africa’ were converted into ‘Africa’s Lusty Lively Exploitation Since 1652, No Regard Given Worldwide’. SAB did not laugh. Instead it went to the Cape High Court and sought, and obtained, an interdict restraining distribution of the T-shirts.

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May 26 2010

Representing victims of trafficking in Scotland

Published by under Events,International law,Scots law

The Equal Opportunities Committee of the Scottish Parliament is carrying out an inquiry into migration and trafficking in Scotland. Giving evidence to its meeting of 18 May, the Ethnic Minorities Law Centre said “We are aware that it is extremely difficult for those that are trafficked to come forward to get legal advice regarding their position, given their vulnerability, fear and concerns for their own and, sometimes family member’s, safety … Continue Reading »

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Feb 01 2010

So last year

Answers to last month’s quiz below. Nobody got more than one question right, so rather than embarrass my loyal readership I am awarding myself the prize in terms of Rule 5.

1. Which published Court of Session opinion was removed from the Scotcourts website at the request of one party because its contents were said to be commercially confidential? Hat-tip to Douglas Macgregor of Brodies for this one, and also for supplying some of the background. The case is BSA International v Irvine 2009 CSOH 77, an opinion of Lord Glennie’s which discusses the duties of expert witnesses and also describes a potentially significant distinction between Scots and English law as to legal professional privilege. Douglas says Continue Reading »

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Dec 17 2009

Review of the year

Published by under International law,Scots law

Portrait john calvin photo

Not this Calvin…

Well, I’m knocking off until the New Year. For those among my loyal readers who can’t keep away from the law over the break, I offer a prize of a bottle of the Faculty of Advocates finest Reading Room Claret to the best set of answers to this quiz on outré legal events of the last 365 days. Competition closes at Hogmanay midnight; answers by way of the comment form below, which is moderated so nothing will be published until next term. As a tie-breaker, points will be given for wit, imagination, and good guesses, so don’t feel you have to pass because you haven’t the faintest idea what the answer is. Multiple attempts are permitted, but may not be counted at my discretion. If you feel you need to know what the other rules are, they’re here, with credit and thanks to those great philosophers Calvin and Hobbes. Or you can ask, though I don’t promise to answer. And the compliments of the season to you. Continue Reading »

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Sep 02 2009

Compassionate release in Scotland: the actual policy and the law

Published by under International law,Scots law

The Scottish Government today released a fair amount of background documentation on the decision to grant compassionate release to Megrahi (better indexed, I think, here on BBC Scotland). There are still a number of documents which for one reason or another haven’t been published, such as the representations made by the US government, for which the US Embassy refused permission.

The full text of Scottish Government policy on compassionate release has not however, I think, been made public. Thanks to a correspondent who sent me a copy of this, it is now published on this site. Continue Reading »

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Aug 26 2009

That letter from the FBI to the Justice Secretary: is it real?

Published by under International law,Scots law

My last post covered two issues; the hypocrisy of the attack on the decision to release Megrahi, and the law relative to compassionate release of prisoners in Scotland. But in linking these I noted in passing that much of the attack on MacAskill was simply ignorant, and wrote “FBI Director Robert Mueller, in his much-quoted open letter to MacAskill, obviously intended primarily for US domestic consumption, thought the Justice Secretary was a ‘prosecutor‘.“. Continue Reading »

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Aug 24 2009

Megrahi’s release: Kenny MacAskill was right

Published by under International law,Scots law

If Megrahi was indeed rightly convicted of mass murder, which I doubt, it is not in doubt that he acted on the orders of the Libyan government. He was a senior member of its intelligence service. Yet both the UK and US governments have for some years been on friendly terms with the people who, they say, ordered the destruction of PanAm 103. They dine with them. They have cocktails with them when they meet at mutual friends. The week before Megrahi’s release, as reported in the Washington Post, a delegation of four American senators led by John McCain met with Colonel Gaddafi to discuss the sale by the US to Libya of military equipment. In April, Hilary Clinton welcomed another member of the Gaddafi family, the régime’s National Security Adviser, to Washington. She said “We deeply value the relationship between the United States and Libya. We have many opportunities to deepen and broaden our cooperation. And I’m very much looking forward to building on this relationship. So, Mr. Minister, welcome so much here.” Continue Reading »

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Aug 14 2009

Forthcoming conferences: Professor Hathaway on asylum law

Published by under Events,International law,Scots law

Professor James Hathaway of Melbourne University, author of “The Law of Refugee Status”, “The Rights of Refugees under International Law”, and many other leading texts on asylum law; editor of the Refugee Caselaw website; and a world renowned authority on the law of international protection, will be addressing an all-day seminar in Glasgow on Monday 5 October on issues as to refuge status and internal relocation. His work is constantly cited in, and by, courts throughout the common law world; a quick search on BAILII throws up no less than 180 cases in which he is cited as an authority. Continue Reading »

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Jul 03 2009

Albie Sachs, childrens’ representation, and fundamental rights

Published by under Events,International law,Scots law

Albie Sachs, Justice of the South African Constitutional Court, is one of the great judges (and in one of the great courts) of our time. On 24 June he was in Edinburgh, first speaking to the first joint meeting of the four UK and Ireland Human Rights Commissions (I wasn’t there) and then at a meeting organised by the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young Persons (I was). The topic at the second talk was how the landmark decision in the case of S v M, 2007 ZACC 18, in which the South African Constitutional Court held that the rights of children had to be taken into account in criminal proceedings against their mother (in their own right and not merely as an aspect of the mother’s rights), came to be made, and its resonance for Scotland. Jackie Kemp’s already written a good account of the event as a whole, and I intend here to pick up some miscellaneous issues rather than duplicate that. Continue Reading »

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Apr 01 2009

Fashion statements and other legal issues of the day in America

Published by under International law

In a throwback to medieval sumptuary laws, House Bill 2099, locally known as the ‘Saggy Pants Bill’, is now under consideration in the Tennessee legislature. The Bill makes it a criminal offence to “knowingly wear pants below the waistline, in a public place, in a manner that exposes the person’s underwear or bare buttocks.Continue Reading »

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