Law Commission's 'trendies' label sticks

A senior barrister has failed in her bid to come to the aid of the Law Commission by reporting allegations made in the Daily Mail that it is run by “fashionable liberals” to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

Josephine Hayes, of 3 New Square, complained to the PCC that a series of articles by the Daily Mail last October about the Law Commission's role in the Family Homes and Domestic Violence Bill were based on ignorance of the present law and a lack of proper research.

However, the PCC was unimpressed by her complaint. It said the articles reflected “matters of opinion” which “the newspaper or the columnists concerned were entitled to express in a vigorous way on a matter of current public debate”.

The articles referred to members of the Law Commission as “trendies” and the “radical chic who dominate London's legal establishment”. They described the Bill as “two pieces of fashionably permissive legislation which together would do further grave damage to the concept of the family”.

Hayes, who is not a member of the Law Commission and specialises in chancery work, said she made the complaint because she believed the articles were gross examples of careless and inaccurate reporting.

She said: “I was concerned that a paper with a readership of over four million, the majority of which is female could be so misleading about the subject of domestic violence. I believe the articles were part of a campaign by the Daily Mail and certain right-wing MPs to prevent legislation being passed.”

She added: “Many of the proposals made in the Bill, including equal rights for co-habitees and spouses relating to occupation orders, were included in the Family Law Act passed in June.”