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Liberty IntactHuman Rights in English Law$
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Michael Tugendhat

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790990

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198790990.001.0001

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Freedom of Expression

Freedom of Expression

Chapter:
(p.115) 9 Freedom of Expression
Source:
Liberty Intact
Author(s):

Michael Tugendhat

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198790990.003.0009

Until the nineteenth century freedom of speech meant immunity for anything said in court or Parliament, and, otherwise, no prior restraint by licensing. Sanctions after the event were allowed. Freedom of speech for the public may require the cooperation of those who control buildings, public spaces, and resources. Judges and Parliament increased freedom by restricting the definitions of offences and torts, such as treason and libel, and by assigning to juries the decision whether words were seditious, libellous, etc in Fox’s Libel Act 1791. The argument that truth would emerge by its natural strength from freedom of expression was the basis of adversarial trial, and was argued by Thomas More and John Milton. More used the public interest argument for freedom of speech in Parliament and in advice given to the king. Until the twentieth century, in the US freedom of speech meant the same as in England: no prior restraint.

Keywords:   freedom of expression, freedom of speech, prior restraint, Thomas More, John Milton, First Amendment, trial by jury, treason, libel, Fox’s Libel Act

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