Public or Personal Character in Election Campaigns: A Review of the Implications of the Judgment in Watkins V Woolas
10 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2011
Date Written: July 2011
Reviewing the Election Court's decision that a candidate's parliamentary election literature was unlawful under the Representation of the People Act, the Divisional Court held that statements could either be about a candidate's public character or his personal character but not both. Though the legislation was compatible with the ECHR if it penalised only the latter, the question for the courts is really a matter of whether statement impugns a candidate's character more than merely as a necessary implication of an allegation regarding conduct such as the breaking of election promises.
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