Protect Catriona's Right to Freedom of Speech
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PROTECT CATRIONA'S RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Catriona MacLennan is an Auckland barrister and journalist who has distinguished herself for many years now by her perceptive articles in both legal and news media publications.
Ms MacLennan is being investigated by the Law Society for speaking out about a District Court Judge's inappropriate comments on a family violence case.
The Law Society has asked Ms MacLennan to address a number of questions upon which they would rule on the papers i.e "behind closed doors":
- Without a hearing;
- Without a right to have counsel address the Committee on her behalf; and
- Without the right for her to state in person her position.
This lack of transparency is extremely worrying. It is important that due process and the principles of natural justice are followed.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
It is essential to protect freedom of speech - and that the regulatory bodies such as the Law Society act with openness, transparency, and does not abuse its powers.
"The authority and reputation of our courts are not so frail that their judgments are not to be shielded from criticism…
It is the inalienable right of everyone to comment fairly upon any matter of public importance. This right is one of the pillars of individual liberty – freedom of speech, which our courts have always unfailing upheld."
- Salmon LJ - R. v. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, EX PARTE BLACKBURN
THE OUTCOME SOUGHT
- A formal retraction of the investigation by the National Standards Committee.
- A public apology to Ms MacLennan from the Law Society.
- An explanation from the Law Society as to how the decision to investigate Ms MacLennan was made.
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