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Showing posts from November, 2019

Taming the Social Media Giants: How far should the state go in regulating online content?

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The law, history teaches us, lags inevitably behind technological change. In respect of no development is this more true than the ‘Information Revolution,’ those sweeping and manifold transformations brought about by popular and near-instantaneous access to the internet. Proving a particular challenge to regulators is social media. Compare, by way of illustration, the regulatory scheme governing more traditional media with that applicable to the media of this new digital age. Whereas television content is beholden to a comprehensive set of guidelines and overseen by a government-approved regulator, content published via social media exists in what may more accurately be described as a regulatory ‘wild west’. It is my argument that more stringent legal safeguards need to be built into the online sphere, and that this is a challenge that the state cannot shy away from. In my view, the most insidious by-products of this technological revolution is the emergence of ‘fake

Law Reform: Psychiatric Harm and Secondary Victims

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In the spring of 1989, ninety-six Liverpool fans were killed and many hundreds more seriously injured in a human crush during the team’s FA Cup semi-final match against Nottingham Forest. This tragic event, known as the Hillsborough disaster, is indelibly scarred on the national collective memory; as are the shortcomings of the police, the press and the public inquiries. What is less well known – at least outside of legal circles – is that many of the friends and family of the victims have faced further bitter disappointment in their attempts to win compensation for the intense psychiatric harm they suffered, and continue to suffer, as a result of the disaster. The key legal starting point is the decision of the House of Lords in Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire [1992]. In this case, the court set out three criteria for a successful claim by secondary victims of psychiatric harm; those who suffer psychiatric damage as a result of injury to, or death or imper