Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Carter-Ruck Folds Over Guardian Gagging

New is breaking that Carter-Ruck have caved in and the Guardian is now free to report Paul Farrelly's parliamentary question and what lies behind it relating to Trafigura.

Let there be no mistake. This would not have happened without the online engagement through various blogs and Twitter which has happened over the last 18 hours or so.

As someone once said, a new dawn has broken, has it not? Well done to every blogger and twitterer who helped stand up for parliamentary freedom and freedom of speech.


JBW said...

Does this mean the death of gagging orders?


Dick the bloody angry Prick said...

Who was the judge? An absolute blithering ejeet who should be quietly taken aside and given a bloody good talking to. Idiot.

Anonymous said...

A little bit of web 2.0 history in the making methinks.

Catholic Conclave said...

Like founder, like partners.

"Certainly, if a member of the bar had behaved as Carter-Ruck has done, I should have no hesitation in reporting his conduct to the Bar Council"

Dobson said...

Agree Iain,a new tool to be used wisely.

The Purpleline said...


This was a positive for Blogs and blogging, but one must give credit to the MSM who obviously placed the story in a way for the blogs or tipped off certain bloggers to start the little campaign.

Therefore, my question to bloggers is, were we used by the GUARDIAN and other MSM to get this story out.

I accept it was very important to protect freedoms, but I have a funny feeling of being used.

Your comments most welcome


YMT said...

So while the MP's are busy bitching and moaning over their expenses it's now up to the public utilising the internet, twitter, blogs etc to tackle the days important issues and get action?
What a perfect demonstration of the fail that is parliament.

DominicJ said...

And to think, 6 hours ago I had no idea that a company had dumped toxic waste on the west african coast.

Now I do find myself wondering why they didnt just dump it on the high seas, but there we go.

Slagella said...

As Dick 1:04 says, we need to know who granted this injunction. Whoever it was should be impeached in Parliament. (does that still apply?)

Mr Eugenides said...

One small step for blogs...

Laurence said...

OK, well done bloggers. But in your haste to be popping virtual champagne corks, please don't overlook that Mr Speaker Bercow appears to have denied two requests from colleagues to stand up for the rights of Parliament this morning.

JuliaM said...

"What a perfect demonstration of the fail that is parliament."

It is, isn't it?

Mark Senior said...

There was a TV documentary about the Trafigura/Ivory Coast incident not too long ago so it was not news to me .

Anonymous said...

I do find myself wondering why they didnt just dump it on the high seas, but there we go.

You're not the only one. It would be easier, wouldn't it?

Null said...

The fact that the initial gagging order was granted is a shocking indictment on our courts.

What on earth was the judge thinking?

Victor, NW Kent said...

Victory for the good guys.

For once.

Victor, NW Kent said...

Victory for the good guys.

For once.

Tapestry said...

What about the judge who decided he/she was entitled to ignore the British Constitution?

If MPs have had a good going at over expenses, the judiciary need a good seeing to next.

The Lisbon Treaty is not yet signed.

Parliamentary Privilege will not die without a fight.

Maybe the Guardian can now wake up and realise what the Lisbon Treaty will be bringing, and change sides to trying to stop it.

Also Labour MPs should bring a vote to unratify Lisbon before David Cameron does it.

Elby The Beserk said...

At October@ 13, 2009 1:23 PM , Anonymous Laurence said...

"OK, well done bloggers. But in your haste to be popping virtual champagne corks, please don't overlook that Mr Speaker Bercow appears to have denied two requests from colleagues to stand up for the rights of Parliament this morning."

Well, come on then - what happened?

DespairingLiberal said...

This seems to be a case of ordinary concerned citizens caring very much more for our historic liberties than do Party Leaders, lawyers, judges and substantial sections of the media.

I think there are individual backbenchers who try hard to fight for our rights, but the supine subservience of party leaderships to big state interests is clear - noticeably during the outrageous Damian Green affair.

People have started revolutions over things like this in past history.

We need to know who this judge was - in fact, we demand to be told and that they be sacked.

DespairingLiberal said...

Tapestry, what aspect of Lisbon do you believe relates to this issue? Lisbon enforces the European Human Rights agenda, so it adds to the pressure against this kind of arbitrary dismissal of basic rights by a judiciary serving only big business interests, as in this case.

Anonymous said...

It sounds as if they really are a right bunch of Carter-Ruckers! Well done to all involved.

James Dowden said...

So will the Justice Secretary:
a) Take steps to identify the judge who made this injunction and have him removed from post;
b) If such steps fail, replace all High Court justices?

Power to the Bloggers said...

I suspect that 24 hours ago people had never heard of Trafigura;Minton;Ivory Coast;Abidjan;Paul Farelly.

Well they certainly HAVE now. This must rate as a classic in how not to proceed when there is something you'd rather not advertise to the wider world.

Ferret said...

Much as I normally hate these petitions, in this case I would quite like to see Gordon Brown's response:


We need to enshrine beyond doubt in law that parliamentary proceedings can always be reported. It shouldn't be necessary, but apparently it is...

Boo said...

Censorship yields such great publicity

Anonymous said...

I absolutely can't understand why Carter-Ruck did this. The allegations against Trafigura, the court case, the out-of-court settlements have been in the media for weeks. All they have done is transform a probable minority of well-informed people into a very hostile majority.

Tapestry said...

Despairing Liberal, as follows -

If Carter Ruck had pressed on and won the case, where would The Guardian appeal to?

The House of Lords? Not any more.

The Supreme Court, which of course is not a supreme court but an offshoot and junior of the ECJ.

The ECJ does not recognise the Sovereignty of Parliament, and Parliamentary Privilege would not defend against a libel action.

There would be no way for The Guardian to safely expose this story. The victims would be dealt with behind closed doors.

This case hopefully gives The Guardian a lesson in how their slavish support for the EU and Lisbon is producing the very opposite result from the one they advertise.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Scum like Carter Ruck being defeated must surely be a cause for celebration.....Rejoice Rejoice

Tapestry said...

See my blog A Lesson For The Guardian.

This story has many aspects, and the one most have missed, is that it shows how, as the EU Constitution/Lisbon replaces our own, the judiciary is no longer respecting the Sovereignty of Parliament.

Most commentators sound amazed, but what did they expect?

Tony_E said...

Thing is here, we still don't know what was trying to be surpressed.

The Report was already public, there is a settlement to the class action in place I understand, which amounts to something like £30M, and money was paid to the Ivory Coast government in the region of $200M

The court case rested upon the defence that the company was unaware of the level of toxicity of the material, and this was effectively disproved by the disclosure of E-mails relating to the dificulties they had suffered in finding a suitable disposal route.

So far, I have not seen any judgement which has related the deaths to the waste,(though someone here may be able to point that out to me), and ther damages have been paid for nuisance. THe level of the damages to individuals has been small. (Around $1200 each I believe).

With all this information already public, including the E-mails which Newsnight already had:

What was the injunction seeking to hide?

Laurence said...


I'm not sure what you mean. What happened is very good news, of course, and well done to those involved in the hue and cry.

Elsewhere this morning there were reports that John Bercow had turned down requests for an urgent debate on the gagging order and also for a statement from the Justice Minister.

Subsequently (ie since Carter-*uck folded) he has said that Parliament cannot be gagged. This is doubtless very courageous of him but it does represent a slight volte-face slightly after the event.

My point is that while it's great that bloggers successfully defended the constitution they shouldn't overlook it when those whose job this properly is, fail to do so.

Unknown said...

Yes just how do you gag Twitter? I thought that the comment I heard about the guy doing the investigation into MP expenses (that he didn't want a kicking off the bloggers) says it all.

Yes the dead tree press still have the financial muscle but look at how the BBC in particular is trying to stick up for Liebour MPs in particular.

The dead tree press and the MSM have lost all credibility.

Anonymous said...

Amidst the euphoria the really important point here is being lost

Who was the judge who set the Bill of Rights at nought? Which judicial activist thought he was immune to 321yrs of precedent and law?

We need his name to drag through the mud. The Commons if it had a spine and wasn't solely concerned with emoluments should arraign him before the High Court of Parliament - pour encourager les autres.

Justice Eady said...

Oh dear, Carter Ruck.

This worldwide humiliation couldn't have happened to a more deserving bunch of parasites.

They do have some very unpleasant clients on their books, don't they?

Perhaps some other gagging orders (and the Judge who granted them) need to have a little internet light shone on them.

Not The Silent Majority said...

Nick Clegg was pretty clear with his opinions, about this issue, this morning. So what did Cameron and Brown have to say?

A resounding silence. So much for national leaders...

Tapestry said...

Not The Silent Majority

Nick Clegg!!!!!!!!

Don't make me laugh.

He's the cause of this.

By blocking the referendum on Lisbon, which he had promised in his manifesto, he personally executed the British Constitution.

The judges now apply the EU Constitution which says nothing about the Sovereignty of The British Parliament, or its conventions such as Parliamentary Privilege.

It will be hilarious to see the total idiot now running to the defence of the very institution he has dedicated his life to destroying.

Not the silent majority said...

@tapestry I wasn't supporting Nick Clegg perhaps you aren't as smart as you think you are.

I was condemning our current PM and the heir-apparent who did not think that this was important enough to comment on. Of course did manage to get a soundbite about MP expenses to be reported though. Bully for him, eh?

As you for you, I would venture to suggest that you calm down a little. This wasn't some EU conspiracy and Frothing at the mouth can cause damage to your keyboard.

Tapestry said...

.....someone has to attempt a Limerick using 'Carter Ruck' without resorting to the very real temptation of including expletives. I think I've just about managed it.

A solicitor named Carter Ruck
Said to his client 'you're in luck'.
Your victims can riot
But MPs must keep quiet.
On Lisbon they'll all have to suck.'

Doug said...

Iain, to me it seemed as though the One Show did a bit of a job on you. They introduced you as someone who believes criminals have no rights at all like some kind of extremist. The BBC has really strayed from the path when they try to paint you as extreme. To some extent the political journalists/producers/editors of the BBC have grudgingly learned some sensitivity toward labelling of right-wing politics and politicians but the rest of the BBC are unremittingly bias especially the One Show that whenever David Cameron comes up for discussion is pejoratively labelled posh and a toff.

Frugal Dougal said...

The whole of this story has not yet been told. Why did Carter-Ruck's people target only the Guardian and not also other papers, as well as prominent bloggers like yourself and Guido? Is it possible that somebody within the firm acted thus because they knew it would draw attention to toxic waste being dumped off the Ivory Coast by certain parties?

Joe Public said...

Justification of that satirical magazine's name for the legal firm.

Joe Public said...

At 20:14 C-R's website makes no mention of their cave-in.

Strange that, 'cos it's on Wikipedia.........


Jimmy said...

Nice to see Tim Bell keeping his hand in eh?

DocRichard said...

One of the interesting things about this is that it has united left and right in common revulsion at the outrageous actions of Carter-Ruck and Trafigura. Maybe we can work together on some issues, and get some changes in the libel laws at least.

A couple of posts have queried the identity of the judge who agreed the original injunction. Unconfirmed reports (i.e. Wikipedia) suggest it is Mr "Justice" Sweeney. A clerk in his office pretended to know nothing, but he did not deny that it was the Sweeney.

Sandy Jamieson said...

Tapestry second point is valid although Parliamentary Sovereignty is not unlimited and hasn't been for a long time- this was established as far back as 1953 in MacCormick v the Lord Advocate where the concept of "irrevocable entrenchment" in certain laws is established.

It also can be argued that the 1688 Bill of Rights is a "Fundamental Law" and no Court can override it-only an Act of Parliament can do so- the question is does the 1972 European Union Act over-rule such legislation.

The problem now is we have an activist judiciary who seem to be intent on setting new laws and striking out others. The judge who granted the initial injunction as yet unamed seems to be in that mindset

Tapestry said...

Sandy Jamieson - thank you for a more expert opinion than mine, which refers back to Law studies at Oxford Univ 1972-1975 alongside Blairs! I did not go into the profession.

Judges have been recruited for twenty years based on 'suitability' as defined rather than on merit. Many will be rabid europhiles desperate to crush Parliament for their new masters in Brussels.

Parliament is staring down the barrel of a judicial gun, and needs to seize control of the situation.

The coming battle with the EU to preserve what's left of Parliamentary Sovereignty, will partly be a battle with the judiciary.

Maybe the blogosphere and the twittersphere will tilt the balance of influence back in democracy's favour. Let's hope.

Tapestry said...

Despairing Liberal.

the legal points I was making seem to get support.

calm down? don't be bloody ridiculous.

Some crummy judge wishes to put a large dent in Britain's Constitution, and you want me to keep calm?

As for Clegg, if you and he cannot see how the Lisbon Treaty smashes the British Constitution to pieces, you and he are dumber than even I thought.

We should be the ones despairing of you and dear old Nick Clegg, who thinks his sex life is more important than my liberty.

And I don't think I'm clever.

To be living through the kind of muddle Britain is in today, makes us all feel decidedly dumb.

If this is the best our country can do with the greatest Constitution on earth, which we gave to the world, then our generation can only hang its head.

I choose not to be silent. That is all. The pain I feel at what I see is somewhat alleviated by writing in comments such as this or blogging. It is preferable to visiting the doctor for pills.

Anonymous said...

What's the fuss about? Mr Speaker Bercow says, accordng to Politics Home, "There is no queston of our own proceedure being in anyway inhibited [by the attempted injunction]."

Probably healthier for everyone if the great unwashed don't have a clue about what their elected representatives are doing, isn't it?

Cameron's silence on this matter is deplorable. Good for Nick Clegg.

chris brown said...

Who cares who cares who cares...

Tapestry said...

Bercow is straight wrong.

Parliamentary Privilege means nothing if the business of Parliament is not reported. It is the whole point of the thing - that the citizens hear what is being said by their Parliament.

This is a Constitutional battle between Britain's and with Lisbon. I think we all know whose side Bercow is on,if he makes damn fool statements like this, as he has done.

The point is that the ECJ does not recognise the Sovereignty of Parliament. If MPs don't fight to keep what we have it will be overpowered from Brussels.

Nick Clegg pretending to ride to the rescue is a farce. It was his blatant treachery which slid Lisbon through without a referendum, despite his manifesto commitment to grant the public a say.

No hero, he.

Cameron has consistently stated that he believes Lisbon must be given the public's assent. Clegg is a deceitful fraud.

DespairingLiberal said...

Tapestry, it wasn't me who told you to calm down, that was another poster - I am fine with you making a detailed argument on the Lisbon subject and wasn't attempting to name-call you.

I don't personally agree with your points as I think Lisbon would strengthen the human rights agenda which has press freedom as one of the key concepts, so would serve like an external constitution to which UK judges can refer - perhaps that would have happened in this case anyway had it gone to appeal.

DespairingLiberal said...

I agree with you Tapestry and anon about Bercow thought - deplorable blinkered nonsense he does talk, as though all that matters is that it is in Hansard and forget if it can be reported? What the f*** is he on??

Jimmy said...

Surely the solution is for parliament to pass legislation prohibiting the courts from injuncting reports of its proceedings. Job done.

Tapestry said...

Sorry for wrong ID, Despairing Liberal. I'm coping with 2 year old son here, without mother around, at aged 55!

The Human Rights legislation would not have much bearing if no one even knows what is happening. Once things are sub judice and secret, they can decide things in favour of big business and victims in foreign parts would depend on lack of corruption of judges.

Are you really able to trust EU judges not to take bribes or be persuadable behind closed doors. I would prefer the openness of Parliamentary Privilege where the truth can not be hidden whenever a mere MP takes on a cause.

The continued existence of a European child sex industry is evidence enough for me that justice does not exist for the vulnerable inside the EU.

Anonymous said...

May I please point out to all of those who have posted on here, that for years people have been told not to believe all they read in newspapers!

Can I also point out that if people wish to know the actual truth to the story that so many people are quick to believe, that they log on to the Press Gazette web site and actually read the truth for themselves.

I believe in Democracy, and parliament, but I seem to be the only level headed one not jumping off a bridge without a life rope attached, just to slag off a law firm who has from what I have read about them, for years supported the public against injustice not just newspapers .

I obtained the 'truth' behind the article, not by reading a newspaper, but by researching into the truth before deciding what to make of everything.

As for those who say the 'Judge should be shot....', just remember that the judge did not agree to a gagging order to be placed on a newspaper to stop it publishing parliament. It granted the law firm a gagging order against the Guardian prior to parliament even asking any questions. He/She has not gone against what he/she or the country stand for.

Reading all that has gone on in the papers and on blogs, I have a mind to believe that all England has gone computer crazy. I always thought we stood for 'innocent until proven guilty'. Not condemn everyone before a fair hearing, just because it is what is printed by a newspaper.

Sharon said...

These people are ruthless bullies. Using bullyboy tactics to gag those trying to get the truth out, on behalf of their high paying clients who get make their fortune by suing all and sundry.

Carter Ruck are as known to us Sue, Grabbit and runn.

Please sign the petition below

DocRichard said...

Let this be the first victory in a successful campaign to amend our libel laws, to punish Trafigura for their misdeeds, and to bring TNCs generally under the rule of law.