Thinking Anglicans

Court of Appeal rules on London bus adverts case

The Court of Appeal ruled yesterday on the case of the banned London bus adverts.

Frank Cranmer reports at Law & Religion UK The ‘Ex-gay’ London bus advert ban – again.

…Lord Dyson MR (with whom Briggs and Christopher Clarke LJJ concurred) pointed out that a claimant who established the unlawfulness of an administrative act was entitled to a remedial order and that where a decision was shown to be unlawful, the court should be wary of refusing relief on the grounds that the decision-making body would have reached the same decision had it acted lawfully (para 44). So on the question of how to proceed, he approached the matter on the basis that:

“(i) the decision may have been made for the improper purpose of advancing the Mayor’s re-election campaign; (ii) the judge was right to hold on the evidence before her that the disallowing of the advertisement did not infringe the Trust’s Convention rights and (iii) it is inevitable that, if TfL were required to reconsider the question, it would not reach a different conclusion from that reached on 12 April 2012″ (para 45).

On the issue of the Mayor’s involvement, he concluded that it was in the interests of justice that a further enquiry be conducted by the court as to whether or not the decision had been instructed by the Mayor and whether or not it had been made for an improper purpose. The Mayor (on behalf of the GLA) should be added back as a defendant and the case remitted to the judge for her to make th necessary order and give appropriate directions (para 48). He rejected the Article 10 point and, further, rejected an appeal to Article 9 on the grounds that, on the facts, it added nothing to Article 10…

The full text of the judgment is available here.

Notice that as Frank says, the arguments made about Articles 9 and 10 were rejected. Thus the only issue that remains open is whether or not the Mayor improperly interfered with TfL’s decision making.

However, to read the press release from Christian Concern, you might think the judgment contained more than it actually does: Master of the Rolls demands Mayor of London be investigated for political intervention in ‘gay bus advert’

Read the paragraphs of the judgment referenced in the press release to see for yourself.

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Father Ron SmithMartin ReynoldsFrank CranmerRichard Ashby Recent comment authors
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Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

‘…it would be open to TfL to disallow the advertisement provided that its decision was not instructed by the Mayor and was not actuated by an improper purpose’

I would have thought that was perfectly plain. The only issue is whether the mayor interfered with any decision for political ends.

As you say, to read the CC response you would have thought that they had won outright. Much of what is in their press release and what Mrs Williams says is clearly plain wrong.

Frank Cranmer
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“… to read the press release from Christian Concern, you might think the judgment contained more than it actually does”.

Quite so: it’s quite a complex judgment and I wanted to stick firmly to the law, so I forbore from commenting on the views of Christian Concern.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

I think this is a very significant development.

The judges were clearly unhappy that the Mayor ducked the legal process and want a proper answer. It will be interesting to see if they get one.

And the argument made in para 96,97 and 98 are very significant.

Then there is Lord Justice Briggs’ contribution at the end. He make it clear that he has ear to the ground: “Sincere differences of view about this issue are tearing apart some religious communities, both here and abroad.”
We can expect to see his view quoted repeatedly and what lies behind it moving forward.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Now had a chance to read the press statement from Christian Concern. While they too pick up the significant sections of the judgement that will have some bearing in future cases, they do fail to note that once again Mr Diamond has failed to convince the court to his view. Am I right in thinking the judgment complains of no support from precedent or case law for one of his contentions? In fact, what the judge in the earlier case complained loudly about is complained about again. There is support for the view that the Stonewall ad is contentious but… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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The more I read about the activities of ‘Christian Concern’ the less I accept its role in the issues facing the Church of today. Furthermore, one wonders at the blatant use of the word ‘Christian’ in its title.