So many defamation legal threats are marked 'private and confidential' to limit transparency over who is using the law to curtail (fair or unfair) criticism. The legal advice we have received is that there is very little risk in publishing those threats.
Because defending defamation proceedings is *so* expensive a well funded claimant can bully critics into silence and, by marking the threats 'confidential', suppress transparency over the fact they are doing so. This feels profoundly wrong to me.
We are aware of cases of (e.g.) campaigners against sexual violence being bullied into silence, and wrongly forced to apologise, by the threat of defamation proceedings. We at @GoodLawProject intend to back those campaigners in order to discourage those threats.

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More from @JolyonMaugham

21 Feb
The publication of politically sensitive contracts was delayed for many, many months. Hancock's officials were asked by Number 10 to delay publication to help with press handling. Those are the facts (see eg Pestfix…). Image
Their breaches of the law would have been even more serious had @GoodLawProject not sued. That's what the Court found. Image
And here's the evidence that DHSC was asked to delay publication.…
Read 5 tweets
19 Feb
Italy is investigating corruption but we aren't.
In Italy they call it "illicit". But in the UK we institutionalised it with a VIP lane into which Government Ministers introduced their associates, often without recording that they had done so, or why.
You don't believe me? Here is what the NAO said. But I don't understand any of our fraud agencies to be taking the remotest interest. Perhaps they're afraid of being embarrassed by what they uncover.
Read 5 tweets
16 Feb
When we are told we are more impactful than the Opposition we are not cheered by the compliment, or critical of the Opposition, we are alarmed by the Government's success in reducing Parliament to an irrelevance.
Politically appointed regulators, a dominant and tame state news agency, the use of public money for Party purposes, a civil service neutral only in name, and an irrelevant Parliament is pretty close to a prescription for the end of democracy.
The Law Lord, Devlin, captured the innate conservatism of the judiciary in his description of them as a "body of elderly man who have lived on the whole unadventurous lives… old-fashioned in their ideas." But even they are likely to be further reigned in by this Government.
Read 5 tweets
15 Feb
You can read the Government's Statement of Costs - totally over £508,000 - here.
Government used an incredible 11 solicitors (4 senior solicitors, i.e. over 8 years PQE), 6 junior counsel and 2 QCs.
As a result, Government has incurred £70k communicating with themselves internally. Note – this is not communicating with counsel, which they include separately. This is just their lawyers, speaking to themselves.
Read 6 tweets
15 Feb
Today is the hearing of @GoodLawProject's judicial review of Dominic Cummings' decision to award a lucrative consultancy contract to his friends at Public First.

We will post Written Arguments, Witness Statements and other key documents here from 10.30am.…
We are awed by the astonishing 10,709 donations to our crowdfunder.

However, Government has run up a jaw-dropping bill of an estimated £500-600k defending this one day judicial review of a contract worth £564,000. So we have left the crowdfunder open.…
The Government was unable to obtain a signature for the witness statement of the PM's former Director of Communications, Lee Cain, and so it has withdrawn his witness statement.
Read 4 tweets
14 Feb
Am remembering when Allen & Overy's Head of Litigation told my old Chambers that, so long as I was in Chambers, not only would they not send any work to me, but they would not send any work to any other member of Chambers either.
Here is what @AllenOvery told Law[.]com about the above allegation. I am afraid they are not telling the truth. Here is what Andrew Clark, the firm's General Counsel, wrote to me on 28 February 2020. ImageImage
There is a lengthy email correspondence between me and @AllenOvery's Head of Litigation and its General Counsel. If "A&O insiders" persist in misrepresenting what happened I will publish it in its entirety.
Read 5 tweets

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