#WithoutPrejudice Special podcast: News of The World – Judicial Inquiry – The law and the commercial ‘real politik’

Today I talk to Carl Gardner and David Allen Green about the extraordinary events surrounding the hacking of mobile phones which led yesterday to the closure of The News of The World, a debate in parliament and the setting up of two inquiries – one judge led.  We look at why Jeremy Hunt and the government may well be constrained by law on blocking the BSkyB merger, the judicial inquiries, the Coulson arrest, systemic abuse throughout the media, and the extraordinary statement attributed to Mark Stephens by Reuters last night…” If News of the World is to be liquidated, Stephens told Reuters, it “is a stroke of genius—perhaps evil genius.” which I covered in a blog post.

Listen to the podcast


Useful Links

David Allen Green: Closing the News of the World makes no legal difference

Carl Gardner: Can the NewsCorp-BSkyB deal be stopped?

Charon QC: Time to respect Murdoch’s need for privacy in Coulson’s hour of need ? (Dealing with the Reuters / Mark Stephens points referred to in the podcast)

Politics HomeStatement by James Murdoch announcing closure of the News of the World.

Wall Street Journal:  Tabloid to Close Amid Scandal


David Allen Green, solicitor,  is the author of the Jack of Kent blog and is the legal correspondent  at The New Statesman.  Carl Gardner is an ex-government lawyer and is the author of the Head of Legal blog


I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

AND… finally…

5 thoughts on “#WithoutPrejudice Special podcast: News of The World – Judicial Inquiry – The law and the commercial ‘real politik’

  1. I’m just an ordinary man in the street and I’m not legally qualified in any way.
    But I think that Mark Stephens is absolutely right about the News of the World and the true reasons behind this witch-hunt…………

    And, I wonder how it will be before certain elements of the Government and Police force are arresting and detaining top Lawyers and High Court Judges on trumped up charges of “Interferring with this Country’s Security Arrangements.”

    (An excuse that they use extremely well and often when they’re under investigation.)

    We seem to be moving very quickly in that direction and I fear for the future. if something isn’t done about it now.

    Furthermore some recent attempts by Cabinet Ministers to influence the population’s preception of Human Rights laws and their validity in this country, just seems like another covert conspiracy to divert or pervert the course of justice.

    Please comment, giving your reasons if you disagree……

  2. An excellent podcast which I wholeheartedly recommend.

    The cancer at the heart of the “body politic” in this country is extremely worrying as is the corruption which existed within the Police.

    We have a government – a coalition cobbled together after the indecisive 2010 election – which contains Ministers who have clearly been far too cosy with Murdoch and his people. This is within recent weeks and not in the distant past. The Lib Dems will be tainted by this if they continue to support Cameron in the coalition. The stance taken by Vince Cable will not, ultimately, help them.

    The Met Police Commissioner seems to have acknowledged that there was corruption but it seems to have been some time ago and little was done about it. His force is now (with IPCC oversight) looking into it. Faith in the Met. is shattered – indeed it probably has not recovered since Charles de Menezes.

    Inquiry machinery is exceptionally slow and cumbersome and would bring us back to the legal basis of any inquiry – e.g. Inquiries Act 2005. The latter is a seriously problematic Act allowed to go through Parliament in the 2005 “wash up.” Any inquiry must be in public, with High Court like powers to compel witnesses and take evidence on oath. Anything less will simply not do.

    The government – or should we call most of them the “Chipping Norton set” – is hopelessly compromised and probably powerless to prevent the merger. “Skewered legally” was Carl’s pithy comment!

    There might be some hope – (but don’t hold your breath) – on the “fit and proper person” angle.

    Criminal prosecutions and civil actions will take a long time and, since they usually focus on individual defendants or claimants, are unlikely to nail the real issue of the pervasiveness of the Murdoch Empire.

    What might happen in America is an interesting angle touched upon toward the end of the podcast. Murdoch may indeed have some problems there. One sure thing is that Obama will wish to be squeaky clean!

    As I say – a great podcast. All the best – I look forward to the next.

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