UKIP Supreme Court judgment analysis

2 August 2010 by

For those of you looking for more information on last week’s Supreme Court judgment on UKIP party funding (see our previous post), we have been sent an interesting analysis of the judgment from Lucy Colter at Four New Square Chambers.

Patrick Lawrence Q.C. and Can Yeginsu, also of Four New Square, appeared for UKIP. The judgment was only of tangential importance in respect of human rights, but Coulter addresses this towards the end of her article. The main point was that a court in future would have leeway as to how much it could order a party to forfeit. As such, the court was satisfied that the party funding legislation is sufficiently flexible so as not to contravene human rights law:

Lord Phillips also dealt very briefly (and almost in passing) with the Appellant’s subsidiary contention on the basis of Article 1 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, and agreed that total forfeiture should not be ordered in circumstances where it was a disproportionate sanction, as this would breach the Convention. The strongest dissent on this point was from Lord Brown, who was “at a loss to see” how forfeiture of a donation which by definition the party should not have accepted or kept could violate its human rights. Even if it could, “the court always has the option – and on that hypothesis would be bound – to make no forfeiture order at all.” But again this leaves the circumstances in which a court would not make an order at all very shadowy, and would provide a court with no guidance as to when the exercise the discretion undoubtedly contained in the word “may”.

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