Yesterday I posed the question, ”Is legitimate dissent still possible in the UK?” using an article by George Monbiot (http://tinyurl.com/3crmy7) as the basis. Monbiot described how The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (TPHA) was used to stifle what many saw as legitimate dissent or protest.
Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden, the lawyer involved in getting the injunction on behalf of npower (see Monbiot’s article: http://tinyurl.com/3crmy7), is at the forefront of using TPHA to the extent that in 2004 Special Branch advised him that he was on the hitlist of animal rights extremists.
All should condemn such actions by these extremists. After all, Lawson-Cruttenden is only doing what all lawyers do: using the laws passed by Parliament.
But Lawson-Cruttenden isn’t just a lawyer: he is a lawyer who was involved in drafting the legislation which became TPHA and, according to SchNEWS, he makes a good living from this Act.
His role in the drafting is unclear.
His own website states that his ”is the leading practice in the areas of "harassment" and "stalking" and assisted in the drafting of the "Protection from Harassment Act 1997" (http://www.lawson-cruttenden.co.uk/about.html). David Lovibond in The Spectator (Jan 20, 2001; http://tinyurl.com/2aetyx) claims that Lawson-Cruttenden co-drafted the bill.
SchNEWS describes Lawson-Cruttenden who acted for Huntingdon Life Sciences as follows: “This bunch of greedy solicitors specialise in the Harassment Act and charge ridiculous amounts of money - they charge £400 an hour for solicitors fees, this includes time when they aren’t even working. For example, for attending one court hearing, they charged £500 for 1 hour 15 minutes for travel and waiting - £500 for going to and from work and hanging about doing fuck all! That’s more than most people earn in a 40 hour week! (A total of £7316.67 was charged by the solicitors for travel and waiting). They also charge £100 per hour for an office junior, even though they probably pay them £50 a day. When you count up numerous court appearances charging £400 an hour, plus interest, it comes to a nearly a quarter of a million pounds.” (http://www.schnews.co.uk/archive/news471.htm).
Can it be right that a lawyer who assisted in the drafting of the legislation profits so lucratively from using the legislation to its fullest extent?While we wait for answer, this lawyer makes good money from The Protection of Harassment Act 1997.
UPDATE:Lawson-Cruttenden responded to Monbiot's article - see here
UPDATE 2: My first post on this subject - "End of Dissent?" is here.