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Freedom of Speech$
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Eric Barendt

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199225811

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199225811.001.0001

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Free Speech in Liberal Legal Systems

Free Speech in Liberal Legal Systems

(p.39) II Free Speech in Liberal Legal Systems
Freedom of Speech


Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the treatment of free speech in a number of liberal democracies, where it enjoys significant protection. Special attention is paid to free speech principles in four national jurisdictions: England, Canada, Germany, and the United States. Principles developed by the European Human Rights Court, interpreting the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), are also considered. The protection of free speech in a few other countries (France, Australia, Italy) is briefly explored. This chapter sets out the relevant constitutional provisions and examines the approach of the courts in each jurisdiction to their interpretation and application. Inevitably, some general constitutional issues are discussed. Freedom of speech as a legal concept cannot be understood in isolation from other constitutional rights and principles, which may be peculiar to a particular system.

Keywords:   free speech, England, United States, Canada, law, Germany, European Human Rights Convention, France, Italy, Australia

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