LETTER : Privacy law is workable

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The Independent Online
From Mr J. A. McLean

Sir: Andrew Marr ("Privacy, the press and happy hypocrites", 24 August) says that "a privacy law is perfectly possible and perfectly workable".

The framers of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Council of Europe 1950) thought so too. They also recognised that the right to privacy had to be reconciled with the right to freedom of expression.

The Convention sets out the right to privacy in Article 8.1:

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence

reconciles it with the right of freedom of expression in Article 10.2:

The exercise of (the right to freedom of expression), since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society for

and insists on remedies in Article 13:

Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority ...

Not only is a privacy law workable and possible, its introduction is an international obligation of the UK.

Yours faithfully,

J. A. McLean

Burness Solicitors


24 August