Protecting Privacy: The Clifford Chance Lectures - Vol. 4

By Basil S. Markesinis | Go to book overview

Preface

This is the fourth volume of the Clifford Chance lectures and contains expanded versions of papers delivered at the Centre for the Advanced Study of European and Comparative Law of the University of Oxford during the last year or so. Once again, both the Centre and the Law Faculty wish to record their thanks to the sponsors who have given constant and invaluable support to the University's European effort. Being the largest integrated legal firm in the world they, more perhaps than some in the University world, understand the need for a more integrated legal education.

The subject of this book could not be more topical for it is strongly arguable that it is in the field of privacy that the enactment of the Human Rights Bill will have its greatest impact. For the Government's courageous introduction of the Human Rights Bill will not only remedy, in part at least, the serious defects suffered by our law as a result of not incorporating long ago the Convention which we, ourselves, helped draft nearly half a century ago; it will also, we hope, give impetus to our courts to develop, incrementally but steadily, our patchy law of privacy.

What the essays show is, to use the felicitous phrase coined a few years ago by the current Lord Chief Justice, that 'there is a world elsewhere'. The world described in this book is largely but not entirely the European world which we are beginning to understand more and more as we are forced, willingly or not, into closer contacts with it. And the experience of countries very similar to ours in political, economic, and social terms is that it is possible to offer human privacy protection which is less patchy and capricious than that found in our legal system. The essays included in this volume also suggest--some might say prove--that privacy can be protected without speech rights being dangerously curtailed. The contrary arguments advanced by our press--tabloid and broadsheet, the difference is becoming less pronounced--are thus steadily exposed to be what they are: self-serving rather than unshakably convincing.

The essays reproduced in this volume, along with the rich references they contain to decisional law and academic writings, also

-v-

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