Tag Archive for 'Freshfields'


The Guardian is excited to tell you that it can’t tell you what it wants to tell you

From yesterday’s (12 Oct 2009) Guardian:

Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.

It sounds tremendously exciting, doesn’t it?

Anyway, the House of Commons Question Book is publically available.  There are thousands of them (questions, that is).  There were 2,344 outstanding questions as of Monday 12 October 2009 (see here).

But the question in question, as it were, is apparantly this one, which as I type has been shifted forward to Wednesday 14 October 2009 (I have no idea, but suspect that unanswered questions get shuffled forward as necessary, so it’s best to start at the root Question Book if you’re searching for something):

(292409)

Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.

I didn’t figure the question out myself.  I got it from Alex Massie at The Spectator.  Alex also helpfully points us to the Guardian’s reports from Wed 16 September 2009 on Trafigura and their exploits in the Ivory Coast [Main article, supporting article, 8MB pdf of the emails] and highlights the fact that Trafigura is now a trending topic on Twitter.

While I join the general expressions of anger at the gagging of the press over parliamentary proceedings, I also note that this will ultimately serve to help The Guardian’s reputation enormously.