Contested Words: Legal Restrictions on Freedom of Speech in Liberal Democracies, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Contested Words

Legal Restrictions on Freedom of Speech in Liberal Democracies, 1st Edition

By Ian Cram


244 pages

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Paperback: 9781138275300
pub: 2016-11-30
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Hardback: 9780754623656
pub: 2016-03-18
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315574011
pub: 2016-05-13
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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

Table of Contents

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.

About the Author

Ian Cram is Senior Lecturer and Convenor for the Human Rights Research Unit in the School of Law at Leeds University, UK. He is the Programme Director for the LLM in International and European Human Rights Law. His research interests include public law, comparative law and human rights. He has published widely in these areas in leading academic journals.

About the Series

Applied Legal Philosophy

Applied Legal Philosophy
The principal objective of this series is to encourage the publication of books which adopt a theoretical approach to the study of particular areas or aspects of law, or deal with general theories of law in a way which is directed at issues of practical, moral and political concern in specific legal contexts. The general approach is both analytical and critical and relates to the socio-political background of law reform issues. This series includes studies of all the main areas of law, presented in a manner which relates to the concerns of specialist legal academics and practitioners. Each book makes an original contribution to an area of legal study while being comprehensible to those engaged in a wide variety of disciplines. Their legal content is principally Anglo-American, but a wide-ranging comparative approach is encouraged and authors are drawn from a variety of jurisdictions.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Civil Rights