Animal Defenders International v United Kingdom: sensible dialogue or a bad case of Strasbourg jitters?
- Publisher: Wiley
In Animal Defenders International v United Kingdom (ADI) the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (the Grand Chamber), having deliberated for over thirteen months, held that the United Kingdom’s statutory ban on paid political advertisements in the broadcast media did not breach the free speech rights of an animal rights NGO that wished to broadcast an advertisement publicising the ill treatment of primates in captivity.1 The Grand Chamber reached its decision by the slenderest of majorities, 9:8, and in so doing departed from its recent case law on broadcast political advertising. The case raises serious issues concerning the adjudication of freedom of expression cases, and of human rights cases more generally. Some of these concerns will be explored below, following a summary of the factual and legal background to the case.