Walter Greenwood reviews eighth edition of Scots Law for Journalists
Thursday 13th January 2011
The new edition of Scots Law for Journalists has been praised as “authoritative and yet highly readable” by media law guru Walter Greenwood in his review of the book for the NCTJ.
Edited by Rosalind McInnes, BBC Scotland’s principal solicitor, the book has undergone substantial changes, mostly as a result of changes to legislation, since the last edition was published ten years ago.
Essential reading for all students on NCTJ-accredited courses, editors, journalists and trainees in Scotland, the book will also be of interest to a wider audience who should be abreast of the differences between Scots and UK law.
In the introduction to his review, Walter Greenwood notes: “It always comes as a surprise to those outside Scotland to realise how much Scots law is different in terminology, structure, statutes and interpretation. Some media law applies throughout the UK but Scotland has its own unique statutes and application of common law affecting journalists.”
He says that: “This eighth edition further enhances the high reputation the book has always had for explaining the Scottish legal system and procedure in detail and yet for catering very efficiently for the experienced journalist as well as the student and the lawyer. It has many pages of sound, up-to-date advice for dealing with practical situations arising in the newsroom.
“Scottish journalists are not encumbered with the labyrinth of statutory restrictions in England, each with case law where the judges have sought to clarify what Parliament left in doubt.
“The book explains lucidly the more straightforward restrictions that do apply in Scotland.”
Although Walter Greenwood challenges McInnes’s view that the 1992 Sexual Offences Act has now superseded the Scottish editors’ long-standing voluntary code on not identifying sex crime victims, he concedes that: “nonetheless, this in no way detracts from the general excellence of this guide to media law.”