Richard Wilson's blog

richardcameronwilson AT yahoo dot co dot UK

When even a primary school is threatening its critics with libel, you know it’s time for Libel Reform

with 4 comments

My latest piece for Index on Censorship


Richard Wilson asks: Why would a London primary school employ the services of a political lobbying firm — and libel lawyers Carter Ruck?

A South London primary school is funding a libel action brought by current and former employees over three emails sent by the Chief Auditor of Lambeth Council. The school has ignored a freedom of information request for details of how much it is spending on the court action — but Index on Censorship believes that the costs may already have run into six figures…

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Written by Richard Wilson

May 31, 2011 at 4:53 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Was interested in your article on the Durand Academy. You might like to look into what’s been going on at King’s College School Cambridge, the famous choir school. Unannounced, emergency ISI inspection following complaint from parents, failed ISI inspection (multiple failings), misleading letter to parents following inspection, first private school to be subject to FOI, breakdown in governance. Provost of King’s College resigns as Chair of Governors and subsequently resigns as Provost.

    John Lee

    June 1, 2011 at 5:38 am

  2. We monitor and publish dates when local authorities (including LEAs) must open financial books (including contracts, invoices, vouchers and receipts) to public inspection. Lambeth LBC will be setting the statutory four week period shortly. You may wish to take the opportunity to inspect and copy relevant documents. We would be interested to hear how you get on.

    Richard Orange

    June 6, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    • Very interesting – unfortunately as Durand is an Academy it’s directly run by the DfE rather than local authority. May still be able to find useful tangential information via Lambeth LBC though…

      Richard Wilson

      June 6, 2011 at 8:39 pm

  3. This all can’t be right, but something occurs to me here which might be significant.

    I understand that Durand Academy, as a public body, cannot sue for libel. They are instead funding the libel case on behalf of their employees.

    Could that be regarded as a taxable benefit in kind? It seems to me that it would be reasonable to regard it as such. If so, perhaps it might be worth getting in touch with HMRC? If they took the view that it was, then the enormous tax bill that the employees would incur might put them off doing this sort of thing.

    Adam Jacobs (@adam_j666)

    September 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

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