Attorney-General v Jonathan Cape Ltd [1976]

English Constitutional Law

Attorney-General v Jonathan Cape Ltd  [1976]
‘An Interesting Book’ by Claude Raguet Hirst

Public interest, national security and the freedom of speech are key ingredients to a ‘united kingdom’, therefore should any one of those elements become endangered any true sense of democracy would be diminished in favour of state control, and so when a Cabinet Minister chose to keep an open diary of his time in government, he did so on the pretence that it would one day become a published series for public reading. 

Upon retirement the now deceased author had endowed his executors the rights to attain full publication with the support of the Treasury solicitors, whereupon they did so in the hope of releasing sections of the first volume through a leading national newspaper, and while there was an initial collaboration between the executors and the Secretary of the Cabinet, numerous demands to remove what was considered critical text dissolved the partnership into legal argument and subsequent litigation. 

In the first instance the Attorney-General issued a writ preventing publication on grounds of conventional breach of confidence and national safety, while in a second writ the newspapers were subjected to the same restrictive terms in order to cease printing and publishing the planned articles.

In the lower courts the claimants argued that history demonstrated how current and former Ministers served the country in the knowledge that any official discourse was considered secret, and that where permitted for public release such information was typically held to a thirty-year restraining period, while the respondents countered that any information contained within the compiled material was now over a decade old and so posed no real threat to either national stability or the ongoing operational integrity of the Cabinet.

When submitted before the Court of the Queen’s Bench, the court held that the burden of proof rested upon the claimants, and so held that it must be proven beyond any reasonable doubt that: 

1. A breach of confidence had occurred.

2. Public interest required the repression of information.

3. Any need for public disclosure was insufficient to stand against non-publication. 

And so given time to consider the arguments presented it was agreed that despite strong supposition on the part of the Attorney-General, there had been sufficient examination of the final and edited source material to prevent any interference by the court, and that with an appreciation of free speech and the transparency of the author’s intentions, the respondents were free to both publish the first volume and release the preceding articles as and when time permitted, while clarifying to the court that:

“[T]here may be no objection to a Minister disclosing (or leaking, as it was called) the fact that a Cabinet meeting has taken place, or, indeed, the decision taken, so long as the individual views of Ministers are not identified.” 

Approved Cover Design

United States Law: A Case Study Collection

Approved Cover (Small)

Today I’m very pleased to share with you the approved cover design for the book, and as you can see I have utilised the red, white and blue of the American flag, which I hope compliments the overall aesthetic and inspires some degree of patriotism when looking at it first hand.

Naturally this is just the first step in several, however it does indicate that publication is not too far away, and needless to say that with two years in the making, it’s a body of work that I am incredibly proud of.

More posts will follow as things progress, but for now I hope you like the final product as it stands right now, and here’s to getting it out to market in the coming weeks…

Back at the helm…

United States Law: A Case Study Collection

Finish Line
‘The Finish Line’ by Guiy Buffet

It’s been a wee while since my last blog post, and yet so much has happened, including a relocation from Cambridge to Cornwall, the commencement of my legal career, countless readjustments, and our annual Christmas preparations, and yet one of the more pressing questions was whether, with all of the work ahead of me now and moving forwards, I would be able to find sufficient time to complete my latest and most ambitious book titled ‘United States Law: A Case Study Collection’.

Having worked out how best to finish this labour of both love and a passion for law, I’m now happy to say that I’ve sketched out a plan that will hopefully bring things to a close sooner rather than later, and so I suppose the real purpose of this post is simply to say that I am now firmly back on track, and feel very confident that the book will be published in the first quarter of 2020.

With little more to add besides my palpable sense of relief at picking up the proverbial thread, I will duly sign off and get cracking, as there’s almost two years of arduous legal research and writing just waiting to be shared with the world.

Oh, and should I forget to say it at any point – “A Happy New Year to all!”

Electronic Signatures Neil

Nearly there…

United States Law: A Case Study Collection

Final update
‘Are we nearly there’ by Maureen Sherman

As I am now in the preparatory stages of this frankly amazing book, I thought it wise to share with you the work ahead, as for many of you that have never written nor self-published a book before, this kind of information is very useful should you ever decide to ‘take the bull’ by the horns so to speak.

As with any body of work there is a need to edit, proof-read, and index so as to allow future readers the opportunity to navigate the final product as they see fit, and so when reflecting upon how long it took me to finalise ‘The Case Law Compendium’, memory suggests that it took perhaps 1-2 weeks of work, and even then there were noticeable errors once committed to print.

By way of comparison, I have calculated that when working between 7-8 hours per day (without undue interruption), it will take me a little over two months to bring this title to fruition, which as you can imagine is substantially more than my last serious project, however this time around I feel beyond happy inside, and although there are no guarantees that anybody will ever want to buy a copy, I am unashamed to say that I have given all of myself into its writing, and that I have relished absolutely every second of the journey too.

On top of that, my mind and conversely my knowledge of law, is now way beyond anything I could of ever imagined when all of this started, and so if there’s anything that would make me even happier, it would be to have the chance to promote this book across the United States of America (a dream I know), and also to know that thousands of law students and law scholars will draw tremendous benefit from having read it, while to establish myself as a credible legal consultant either here or overseas would simply be the icing on the cake (unless someone out there is willing to help me become a US lawyer, in which case I would probably cry and then pass out).

And so with all of the above now put to electronic ink, I think it’s time for me to get back to work, and look forward to the day when this, my biggest project ever, gets to see the light of day, and hopefully catch the eyes of those seeking legal knowledge in a way never before delivered…so until then please just watch this space and thanks for reading.

 

Mung Beans with Potatoes

Recipes

Mung Beans with Potatoes
‘Basket of Potatoes’ by Vincent Van Gogh

Undoubtedly one of my own personal favourites, this delicious combination of soft tender potatoes, with sweet tomato coated mung beans, never fails to satisfy when I make it, and I’m supremely confident that if you give it a try yourself, you’ll quickly become another fan of this truly ‘moreish’ meal.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
Slug of Olive Oil
175g Mung Beans
2 Medium Potatoes (Peeled and Cut into Small Dice)
Garlic Clove (Peeled and Grated)
1” Fresh Ginger (Peeled and Grated)
400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
Tbsp Tomato Purée
0.5 Tsp Cumin Seeds
0.5 Tsp Brown Sugar
6 Curry Leaves (Fresh or Dried)
0.5 Tsp Ground Turmeric
Medium Red or Green Chilli (Seeded and Finely Chopped)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to Taste
750ml Water

How to Cook

1. Add the mung beans to the water and simmer in a small pan for around 30 minutes, draining away any excess liquid when finished.

2. Par-boil the diced potatoes in another small pan for around 9 minutes, draining away any excess liquid when finished.

3. Meanwhile heat the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar), add the cumin seeds, shortly followed by the garlic, chilli and ginger, before stir-frying until the garlic is soft but not browned.

4. Add the turmeric, salt and pepper, and sugar, and mix well before stir-frying for a further 1-2 minutes

5. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato purée, and bring them to the boil before simmering covered for 6-8 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

6. Finally add the mung beans and potatoes and gently mix everything together before serving as required.

Comments
This awesome vegetarian dish goes brilliantly with warm chapatis, but is equally delightful with a simple plain basmati rice if preferred.

Haddock with Creamed Leeks, Beans and Parsley

Recipes

Haddock with Creamed Leek, Beans and Parsley

Haddock is a great alternative to cod, and so this simple and yet nourishing dish ought to please most fish lovers, while its composition also proves that simplicity is always the key when cooking, as I am confident you will agree when you eventually get around to trying this recipe for yourself.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
Large Slug of Olive Oil
2 Leeks (Trimmed, Split and Finely Sliced)
4 Decent Sized Fresh Haddock Fillets (Un-skinned)
50g Green Beans (Trimmed and Chopped)
200ml Double Cream
Tsp English Mustard
Handful of Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

How to Cook

1. Place the haddock fillets on a plate, brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, before setting aside.

2. Heat the oil in a non-stick sauce pan (or similar), add the leeks and beans, and gently fry until soft and tender, straining off any residual liquid that appears.

3. Add the cream, salt and pepper, mustard and gently simmer in the cream until suitably thickened.

4. Add some oil to a non-stick frying pan, and gently fry the haddock fillets until browned underneath.

5. Place the partially cooked fillets on a non-stick roasting tray in the centre of an oven, (preheated to 170°) and continue to cook them for another 3-4 minutes.

6. Remove the fillets, place the cooked vegetables in the center of four plates, gently resting each haddock fillet on top, and then carefully spoon the sauce over the top before serving.

Comments
This particular meal is perfect with a nice side of mashed or roast potatoes, and goes equally well with a crisp leaf salad and chilled white wine, if preferred.

Happy 1st Birthday!

United States Law: A Collection of Case Studies

Birthday Cake

Today marks exactly one year to the day that I first started writing the ‘voluminous’ Case Law Compendium: United States Case Law, and its pretty incredible to think that so much time has already passed, particularly given that I’m not even midway through the book  yet!

Anyway, needless to say my hard work continues on undaunted, and I’m hoping to share the first half of the criminal law section here in the next couple of weeks, so watch this space if you’re interested to learn more…

Electronic Signatures Neil