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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Law and Order: A Quick Recap on Information Politics, Legal Malpractice Issues and Disagreement over Recent Legal Matters

The modern world rests on several fundamental pillars of thought and action and law is one of such pillars, presumably the most important one. Without a sound and reliable legal structure, justice in official or literary meanings cannot be served and therefore almost every single human culture and society in history and today’s world has been known to struggle with the issues of crime and punishment to provide healthy and constructive living standards for their members. In today’s world, numerous cases are filed by people, businesses and even governments against each other, while the legal domain seems to be on track with many of its crucial procedures. However, significant numbers of people all around the world are equally clueless about the details and technicalities of their legal systems and therefore modern law demands further analysis and investigation. Whether it be criminal lawyers investigating into murder and homicide cases or having malpractice attorneys looking into a particular case, the legal system always leaves behind large numbers of discriminated people who are not aware of critical issues. To counter such a reality, the modern day society and its authorities reach into their publics through education and public information networks, which usually comes in the form of media endeavors and publications. Quality education unfortunately is not available for all members of human societies, whereas the media at large is available for access to all the curious minds of the world and its legal sections are always full of viable, relevant and actual information. As more people encounter legal problems and find minimal guidance from authorities, they turn to modern day media publications to get an idea or glimpse of what is really going on. This reality places more burden on the shoulders of media publishers and their followers alike, pushing such publishers to pay more attention to technicalities and such followers to pay more attention to who and who not to pay attention to. As for the simple inquirer or investigator, the challenge remains the same: to find out crucial information and implement it in the most relevant and constructive framework to make sense of modern realities and evolve further on.

The media’s power in the modern world is undebatable but at the same time, there have been numerous cases where the media and the legal structure(s) waged a battle over authority, rights and privileges related to information and its legal extensions. Danny Boyle for BBC News reports on the recent Cliff Richard case that occurred in the United Kingdom that brought BBC head to head with the UK government regarding the authority and control over identity information and its use in criminal investigations. What took place was a simple scenario with the BBC reporting on a police raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s property after which Richard took the matter to a High Court with BBC still simultaneously reporting on the hearings and details. The governmental authorities shunned BBC for giving out specific names and details because they believed that the public attention associated with high-profile individuals such as Richard directly has an adverse effect on judicial procedures and proceedings. BBC on the other hand issued a public announcement regarding the subject matter claiming that “there is a fundamental principle of press freedom at stake here” and therefore the “Parliament, as our lawmakers, should decide” on the final verdict. The opponents of BBC’s stance in this specific case state that the corporation has been specifically and significantly manipulating the law to create further sensation and controversy regarding the trial for an unknown purpose. Following this logic, it can be stated that this is the reason why news outlets and media publishers should not be reporting real names or crucial details during such hearings because intentionally or unintentionally, such a strategy always produces an adverse effect on justice. Considering that Richards was accused of a historical child sexual assault claim, the sensitivity and fragility of the subject matter demands privacy and non-disclosure for the sake of Richards and the investigation. As the issue is being currently investigated by the respective courts of justice, the newscasting corporation might be subjected to a fine of approximately £200,000. However, BBC publically announced that it will not be appealing to the Court of Appeals and will be respecting the initial verdict on the issue. Regardless of the outcome and the possible punishments associated with it, the case signifies a great example of how crucial information is for law and journalism alike and how legal and corporate entities should be working coordinatedly with one another to deter and deflect possibly negative consequences for the sake of justice to be served in the most appropriate manner.

Given its high-profile residents, wealth and status, London has always been a global center for interesting legal developments. Antonia Blumberg for The Huffington Post reports on a recent case involving a “Prestigious Men-Only Charity in London,” namely The Presidents Club Charitable Trust, and possible sexual harassment claims after “two female journalists went undercover as waitresses at the event and reported rampant groping and sexual harassment.” The situation is so complicated and serious that the charity might face actual foreclosure due to serious misconduct and misbehavior, which have both become casual and normal for the attendees. Following the Financial Times article on the issue, authorities took action to further investigate into the claims after several witnesses also came forth with their own versions of similar stories. The charity on the other hand is not taking any risks or chances, given its high-class/high-profile position in the British society, as it is getting closer to shutting down its doors once and for all. Throughout its 30 years of history with high profile annual dinners to raise money, to the amount of $30 million supposedly for children, there have never been accusations of this nature and therefore the administration has been shocked and baffled after being subjected to such enormous social pressure and criticism. However, the British society seems to be far more serious about the ramifications of the investigation with “several of the children’s hospitals that have received funds from the charity” openly stating that “they would return all donations raised at the event.” As for the remaining funds, they will be split and distributed among children’s charities in an efficient manner before the club gets closed down for good. In the last meeting that took place on the 18th of January, there were more than 300 business moguls, political leaders and financial gurus present with 130 female hostesses working for the organization. While some of them came through with their disturbing stories, many others did not report such incidents at all with one of the hostesses describing the assault as “it is hands on skirts, hands on hips, on stomachs, arms going around your waist unexpectedly.” While other more disturbing stories exist regarding the accounts of such assault, the media has been relatively silent, presumably due to the enormous authority the mentioned attendees have over the British society and its legal authorities. When combined with conspiracy theories surrounding such high-profile and powerful individuals in the UK, this story will surely raise more attention and eyebrows in the future and hopefully the truth of the matter will be revealed without too much further conspiracy or hassle involved in the proces.

When the issue is Great Britain of today, one needs to look no further than the issue of Brexit to understand the confusion and bafflement the society is going through currently. Owen Bowcott for The Guardian reports on a certain political group representing Britons living in different EU countries, which argues that there exist legal complications regarding the Brexit module and that the legal procedures related to the government’s decision are still undergoing legal processes. The group titled ‘UK in EU Challenge’ has launched a judicial review in the name and representation of “Britons living in France, Italy and Spain.” The review argues that the 2016 referendum was “not a lawful, fair or free vote” which has led to the representatives of Theresa May being obliged to present their legal defense by 4 PM on the 31st of August this year. The review also demands that the request be taken seriously and an expedited hearing be organized “as soon as reasonably practicable.” Considering the general sense of dissatisfaction with the decision and the controversy surrounding its reliability and accountability, the UK public is looking forward to hearing more from the group and its struggles in the name of defining a better argument and a more sound legal procedure to represent the rights of those left behind by the government’s decision. The British government on the other hand is not taking the challenge seriously, trying to integrate political reasoning and discussion for such dismissal. The official announcement concentrated on procedural mistakes and technical errors in the process, forecasting that in the near future, when and if the British government is further hassled by the same issue, it will be taking legal action against the claims and the owners of such claims. However, the EU courts are taking the issue very seriously and do not seem to be backing down due to political interference or legal fear mongering by the British authorities. Britain’s departure from the European Union will have drastic effects on the member states and only through a reasonably long period of transition and a publically accepted set of logical legal procedures, the adverse effects of such a decision can be pre-calculated and deflected. As the legal battle between the EU and UK courts wage on, the British and EU publics will be granted a second chance to consider the given decision to voice their opinions and find legal support for them, in the case that they are essentially constituent and reasonable.

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