UK Electoral law went too far to restrict freedom of speech when limiting the amounts spent by third parties discussing candidates. The legislative provision in question was held to operate, for all practical purposes, as a total barrier to Mrs Bowman’s communication of her views.
The Court emphasised the special importance of article 10 rights in elections: ‘Free elections and freedom of expression, particularly freedom of political debate, together form the bedrock of any democratic system . . The two rights are inter-related and operate to reinforce each other: for example, as the Court has observed in the past, freedom of expression is one of the ‘conditions’ necessary to ‘ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature . . For this reason, it is particularly important in the period preceding an election that opinions and information of all kinds are permitted to circulate freely.’
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Preliminary objection rejected (victim); Violation of Art. 10; Non-pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient; Costs and expenses partial award – Convention proceedings
Times 23-Feb-1998, 24839/94, (1998) 26 EHRR 1,  ECHR 4
European Convention on Human Rights 10, Representation of the People Act 1953
Cited – Regina (Amicus etc) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Admn 26-Apr-2004
The claimants sought a declaration that part of the Regulations were invalid, and an infringement of their human rights. The Regulations sought to exempt church schools from an obligation not to discriminate against homosexual teachers.
Held: . .
Cited – Animal Defenders International, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport HL 12-Mar-2008
The applicant, a non-profit company who campaigned against animal cruelty, sought a declaration of incompatibility for section 321(2) of the 2003 Act, which prevented adverts with political purposes, as an unjustified restraint on the right of . .
Cited – Watkins v Woolas QBD 5-Nov-2010
The petitioner said that in the course of the election campaign, the respondent Labour candidate had used illegal practices in the form of deliberately misleading and racially inflammatory material.
Held: The claim succeeded, and the election . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 September 2021; Ref: scu.165585