At Legal Cheek, we enjoy taking the piss out of judges.
Especially when they appear on MasterChef as hard-to-please amateur food critics.
Or when they slam each other for appearing on MasterChef.
Or when they plaster themselves in blue eye make-up.
Or storm out of court following a conviction under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Or – if it were to happen on these shores – when naked photos of them “engaging in bondage, playing with sex toys and performing oral sex” are posted on the internet.
But it turns out that our criticism of the judiciary is against the law under the ancient offence of “scandalising a judge”. Indeed, as recently as April the offence was used to prosecute former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain over his remarks criticising Lord Justice Girvan…
Happily, that prosecution was dropped. And now it looks like the offence may be scrapped altogether.
The Law Commission released a consultation document on what to do about the old rule on Friday. It states:
“On balance we take the view that the offence is redundant and that abolishing it would leave no gap in the law. The absence of any successful prosecution since 1931 is in itself strong support for the view that it is unnecessary.”
Journalists across the land will be sharpening their pens.