Ain’t Misbehavin’

The House of Lords (judicial) has turned its learned gaze to the question of sex.

In today’s decision (Belfast City Council v Miss Behavin’: [2007] UKHL 19), the Lords find (unanimously) that the system and the decision relating to an application for a licence by a Belfast-based ‘sex shop’ did not violate article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Lords engage in an interesting analysis on the value of speech, and also dismiss the idea that human rights concerns need to be explicitly (no pun intended) discussed at decision stage (i.e. that there is no formal obligation to consider FoE issues, but the decision/result must be ECHR-compliant). I’m not particularly in agreement with either plank of the decision. However, it’s worth reading for paragraph 1 (Hoffman) alone!

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One thought on “Ain’t Misbehavin’

  1. So, no more Larkin’ about, eh? Well, not after these two quick observations. First, it’s not so much about the first paragraph as about the first line, which echoes the first and last verses of Phillip Larkin’s Annus Mirabilis:

    Sexual intercourse began
    In nineteen sixty-three
    (which was rather late for me) –
    Between the end of the Chatterley ban
    And the Beatles’ first LP.

    Up to then there’d only been
    A sort of bargaining,
    A wrangle for the ring,
    A shame that started at sixteen
    And spread to everything.

    Then all at once the quarrel sank:
    Everyone felt the same,
    And every life became
    A brilliant breaking of the bank,
    A quite unlosable game.

    So life was never better than
    In nineteen sixty-three
    (Though just too late for me) –
    Between the end of the Chatterley ban
    And the Beatles’ first LP.

    Second, Counsel for the Respondents (instructed by Fox & Associates, Belfast) was John Larkin QC (formerly Reid Professor in your Law School, late 80s to early 90s) – though I don’t believe him to be related to the poet; that would be a connection too far.

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