In modern liberal democracies, rights-based judicial intervention in the policy choices of elected bodies has always been controversial. For some, such judicial intervention has trivialized and impoverished democratic politics. For others judges have contributed to a dynamic and healthy dialogue between the different spheres of the constitution, removed from pressures imposed on elected representatives to respond to popular sentiment. This book provides a critical evaluation of ongoing debates surrounding the judicial role in protecting fundamental human rights, focusing in particular on legislative/executive abridgment of a core freedom in western society - namely, liberty of expression. A range of types of expression are considered, including expression related to electoral processes, political expression in general and sexually explicit forms of expression.
'…the real value of [Cram's] project is in the compelling way he brings together the multiple debates ranging across comparative contexts and in the way that he effectively connects outcomes in various cases and responses to particular problems to the traditions, cultures, and underlying political philosophies and popular dispositions of the US, the UK and Canada.' American Political Science Association 'One of the great merits of Ian Cram’s Contested Words is that it does explore the coherence of restrictions on the exercise of free speech rights in the context of arguments of political philosophy about the general point of the freedom…Vigorously and attractively argued…this is an important contribution to the continuing debate on the value and scope of freedom of speech.' Legal Studies - The Journal of the Society of Legal Scholars '…well researched, up-to-date and comprehensive…of particular interest to students, especially higher level students with a good general knowledge of the law or comparative political systems, who are new to free speech controversies. It may also be useful to more experienced readers who want to update their knowledge of key cases, events and controversies.' Melbourne University Law Review '…the book is an excellent contribution to the freedom of speech field and well worth reading. It will be of interest to a broad audience interested in freedom of speech debates throughout the liberal democratic world as well as to academics requiring a comparative jurisdictional textbook.' Media and Arts Law Review
Contents: Current controversies in freedom of expression; Rights-based judicial review, Constitutional cultures and expressive freedom; Political expression: political parties, voters and candidates; Comparative constitutional issues arising from the regulation of election campaign finance; Wounding words: the constitutional challenge posed by hate speech in modern liberal democracies; Sexually explicit expression and the Courts; Advertising, autonomy and proportionality: constitutional arguments surrounding the regulation of commercial expression; Conclusion: protecting expression as a constitutional value; Bibliography; Index.