Tag Archives: Albert Haddock

Justice Scalia meets A.P. Herbert

This week on Facebook provides three commentaries on Justice Scalia and two reprises from my posts on A.P. Herbert’s Misleading Cases. I’m hardly qualified to comment on Justice Scalia’s contribution the the defence of the Constitution of the United States, but at least the United States has a codified constitution that it can defend. Justice Scalia always asserted that the American Constitution was not a ‘living document’, a view that resulted in much opposition to his judicial rulings during his tenure as a Supreme Court judge.

Justice Scalia was right to oppose any notion that minority interests could impose constitutional change not in accord with the will of the majority. The United States of America is foremost a republic with a written constitution that requires any changes to be made by due process. Unlike here in the UK where the supremacy of parliament allows for our uncodified constitution to be constantly amended, contrary to the will of the people it is intended to serve. A lack of due process that A.P. Herbert’s protagonist, a Mr Albert Haddock, constantly battled against.

“No man of what estate or condition that he be, shall be put out of land or tenement, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without being brought in answer by due process of the law.” Edward III — Liberty of Subject (Magna Carta 1354)

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A passport and a prerogative to boot.

There is no entitlement to a passport, they are issued by a Minister’s exercise of the Royal prerogative and exercising this Royal prerogative also means that a passport can be withdrawn. There is no statute law governing the grant or refusal of British passports. A Government Minister exercising the Royal prerogative may assume that Rex non potest peccare (the King can do no wrong), yet controversy surrounding the ministerial use of the Royal prerogative continues unabated. Read more of this post

Builder’s Bums

Sent to do the shopping recently, I confronted yet another builder’s bum in the supermarket aisle. This started me wondering about the folly of using the law to set standards for the type of apparel that people should be allowed to wear. For example, what parts of the body should, or should not, be exposed for public viewing? Read more of this post

Rights! What ‘Rights?

The post ‘Speech isn’t free’ elicited the comment Isn’t the assumption that one has the ‘right’ to do something unless it is proscribed by law. Therefore the discussion of whether free speech is ‘a right that existed in law’ is moot. It exists as a right unless it is made illegal”. A view I have to agree with – up to a point. Historically, the right to free speech has always been proscribed by law in the form intended to suppress ‘sedition, or ‘treason’ or ‘slander’ (criminal and civil law). My posts on subject areas like this are generally a means of introducing the humorous creations of A.P. Herbert and his “Misleading Cases’, which parody ‘The Law’. Read more of this post

Speech isn’t ‘free’!

In 2008 Sir Ken Macdonald, QC, when Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), gave a speech about free expression and the rule of law the Birmingham Law School. In the speech ‘Free Expression and the Rule of Law’, he addressed whether there are or should be appropriate limits to free speech, the approach of the criminal law, over time, to this issue and the role of prosecutors. Abridged parts of this speech on ‘free expression and the rule of law’ are included in the following. Read more of this post

Arresting Citizens

A member of the public’s right to emulate the powers of arrest exercised by a law enforcement officer are a ‘far cry‘ from a ‘hue-and-cryAnyone participating in a hue-and-cry had the right to arrest a criminal, whom, if they violently resist arrest might be killed with impunity, but not otherwise – lynchings were very rare, and even wounding or killing a criminal to hinder flight was unlawful. In this context it’s hard to imagine the need for modern law enforcement that Henry Fielding foresaw when he inaugurated the Bow Street Runners . Yet, as he hypothesized in An Enquiry Into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers:

There were too many people coming to London expecting an easy life, that corruption in government was endemic, that people were choosing crime rather than hard work, and that only 6 out of 10 constables were worth keeping on. Read more of this post

Freedom is not a whimsicality!

Last year an amusing article with the header  To swim, perchance to drown, is an undeniable human right appeared in The Telegraph. Written by Boris Johnson  the Lord Mayor of Greater London the nub of the article was the important point of individual freedom and democracy.  In leading with the suggestion that The Port of London Authority (PLA) should take a running jump into the Thames – the point was made that the PLA have now banned swimming in the Thames without a permit, and claiming that the ban was brought into force without any democratic consultation.   Read more of this post

Magna Carta – No longer law

From time to time the English resort to the Magna Carta as a source of their rights in Common Law. I happen to think that this is a totally misleading case and, if you will, an old chestnut.  It reminds me of the 1926 Rex v Haddock case, when a one Albert Haddock lodged an appeal against what he regarded as a ‘unjust fine’.  In a nutshell, a previous court fined Haddock the sum of two pounds plus costs, relating to the parking of a motor-vehicle, with an additional fine of one pound for conducting his defence in ‘rhyming couplets’.  Haddock appealed the fine on the basis of the ‘Fourteenth Chapter of Magna Carta.  This provides that:

A freeman shall not be amerced [that is; fined] for a small fault, but after the manner of the fault, and for a great fault after the greatness thereof…

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