Andrew Tettenborn

Andrew Tettenborn is a professor of law at Swansea Law School

WhatsApp messages shouldn’t be criminalised

Imagine a policeman feels your collar and tells you you’re nicked because someone has reported you for telling off-colour stories in a corner of the rugby club bar, or for making sick jokes at a party to a group of friends which the authorities disapproved of? Something as positively Stasi-esque wouldn’t happen here, would it?

Lincoln’s Inn has fallen for the latest fad

The story of the out-of-touch 1960s High Court judge asking counsel ‘Who are the Beatles? Are they giving evidence in this case?’ is almost certainly apocryphal, as is the suave response (‘I believe they are a popular beat combo, m’lud.’). But a majority decision from the Benchers of Lincoln’s Inn this week shows that senior

Does Labour know the point of going to university?

It’s not difficult to pick holes in Education Secretary Gillian Keegan’s plan, publicised over the weekend, to deal with so-called ‘rip off’ university courses. True, there is a serious problem. Too many students are being inveigled into signing up for degrees with low entry requirements, little intellectual stimulation, a high drop-out rate and not a great

The BBC presenter feeding frenzy

Rishi Sunak has touched down at the Nato summit, but there’s only one question journalists want to ask him about: the allegations that a BBC presenter paid a young person for explicit photos. The claims are ‘shocking and concerning’, the Prime Minister said, adding that he has been assured the BBC’s investigation will be ‘rigorous

The EU is heading for a clash with Poland over immigration

Failing to tackle immigration isn’t only a problem for Rishi Sunak. The European Union is also struggling to deal with the issue. Now, Brussels has devised a plan for dividing up among its member states the would-be migrants at the EU’s doors. But Poland and Hungary are not happy. The EU used qualified majority voting, which

The Rwanda ruling is nothing to cheer about

The government’s loss in its Rwanda appeal spells trouble for Rishi Sunak. But liberals are delighted: ‘Massive result,’ said the barrister Adam Wagner after the Court of Appeal ruled that would-be asylum seekers cannot be sent to the African country while their claims are processed. Sunak plans to seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court –

Brussels will regret its crackdown on Hungary’s migrant plan

Hungary, a magnet for numerous would-be migrants because of its 110-mile land border with Serbia, has taken its own steps to stem the flow. One is brutally physical: a twelve-foot razor wire fence. The other is legal. Three years ago, Budapest passed a law preventing anyone not already lawfully resident seeking asylum, except through nominated

Humza Yousaf’s troubling plan for an independent Scotland

Even with Nicola Sturgeon politically hors de combat, Scotland’s first minister Humza Yousaf has made it clear he intends to forge ahead with her plans to hold a second independence referendum. The Scottish government has produced its blueprint for the future constitution that could flow from such an independence vote. Any voter contemplating taking up Humza’s offer and voting

The university union may be beyond redemption

Life is not terribly good these days for most university teachers. Colleges, once centres of collegiate administration run on a principle of de facto equality and open expression of opinion, are now top-down managed by a cadre of bosses more interested in spreadsheets than seminars, and image more than erudition, where an injudicious word can

Rishi Sunak’s Confucius Institute muddle

Rishi Sunak’s promise to close down the Confucius Institutes in UK universities when he pitched for the Tory leadership sounded like a good idea. Sadly it was also ill thought out. In a liberal democracy it’s difficult just to close down organisations you don’t like by governmental order. His backtracking on that promise this week was therefore

British universities are beyond redemption

There’s no doubt that the government has the best of intentions when it comes to clearing up the Augean stables of UK higher education: witness its setting up of the Office for Students to protect students’ interests against ever-more monolithic university management, and more recently this year’s Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act aimed at

Why Rishi Sunak should take the fight to Airbnb

Last month Michael Gove suggested changing the law in England to allow tourist hotspots to force homeowners to seek planning permission before they can rent out holiday lets. Planning laws aimed at preserving the character of a locality are entirely consistent with conservative principles It didn’t go down well. Some on his own side, including hard hitters like

Alex Salmond’s disturbing grab for the Stone of Scone

Claims of financial skulduggery abound, Nicola Sturgeon is politically hors de combat and Humza Yousaf is quickly rebranding the SNP as a party not only of shatteringly incompetent government but also of lost causes, political irrelevance and sheer kookiness. Thinking Scots who don’t fancy the Tories might be forgiven for contemplating a switch of loyalties

Giving anonymity to paedophiles is a threat to our justice system

Substantial constraints on the freedom of the press tend to accumulate from seemingly small restrictions. Events last week in a court in Antrim in Northern Ireland demonstrate this neatly. A paedophile was caught sending suggestive emails to undercover police posing as prepubescent girls, and went down for 16 months. Who was he? We will never know.

The EU is alienating eastern Europe

For most of its 66 years of existence, a vital part of the EU’s mission has been the inexorable expansion of its power to tell member states what to do. It now has to grasp though that in future it will need to backtrack. Unless Brussels morphs pretty quickly from a centralised technocracy dispatching orders

Europe is falling apart on the world stage

There is rather more than meets the eye to Emmanuel Macron’s inept visit to Beijing last week. The immediate fallout – Xi’s flat refusal to change tack on Ukraine, and Macron’s subsequent insistence that France was not beholden to the US or for that matter over-concerned with what China might do in Taiwan – looks

The truth about the Dartmoor wild camping row

It’s often said that the less important the issues at stake, the bitterer the argument about them becomes. This seems to have been more than confirmed in the last few weeks in Devon by the curious case of the argument over wild camping on Dartmoor. The high moor on Dartmoor is an anomaly. Although nearly

The Tories should think again on targeting Netflix

If you want to understand the curious attitude of our government towards media freedom, look at two provisions in the draft Media Bill, published yesterday. One is refreshingly liberal; the other curmudgeonly and authoritarian. First, the good news. The Bill reads the last rites over the Leveson Report of 2012. A worrying document embodying lofty