A new home for the blog of the School of Law at the University of Aberdeen

We have some exciting news!

We have moved our blog content across to our own pages hosted by the University of Aberdeen. Our posts on a range of legal topics can now be found at www.abdn.ac.uk/law/blog/.

There are a few points to note about this move.

First, please note we will no longer post new content here. All future posts will be at the School’s own blog.

Second, please be assured that we have no plans to delete existing content on this WordPress blog. People have linked to and referenced our content in a variety of places, which is gratifying. The last thing we want to do is render such hyperlinks or references into internet dead ends.

Third, despite retaining our existing WordPress content where it stands, we have also copied the existing content across to our new home. This means anyone visiting there will be able to access relevant older content within that domain.

Fourth, thanks very much to the team at WordPress for providing the platform from which we started our blogging journey. Our migration is not a reflection on WordPress. It simply now suits us to host our own posts in-house.

Finally, and as a final farewell from this WordPress page, thanks very much to all of readers for your interest in our posts since we started in 2015. We hope you will continue to enjoy our future insights on our new site.

The Admissibility of Covert Video Data Evidence in Wildlife Crime Proceedings: A “Public Authority” Issue?

This post is by Dr Phil Glover. It builds on earlier blog posts on this site and flags his recently published academic article.

I have just had the pleasure of having an article published in in Issue 4 of the 2017 Juridical Review, the law journal of the Scottish Universities.

The article focuses on recent controversy surrounding some Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) decisions not to proceed to prosecution in cases of wildlife crime, despite the apparent availability of what I term ‘video data evidence’. This term reflects the modern conception of investigative video recording (whether or not undertaken covertly) and the storage of recorded material in electronic form (data) and offered as evidence.

Taking the contents of a publicly available letter of explanation exchanged between the COPFS and Graeme Dey MSP (Convenor of the Scottish Parliamentary Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee) the article examines why investigative video data acquisition undertaken as part of an investigation might be conceived as being likely to  be ruled inadmissible by Scottish Courts. The article builds on previous blog posts on the subject by Professor Peter Duff and this author.

I take the view that any investigator acting in a capacity outside the parameters of a ‘public authority’ in Scotland is therefore acting outside the ECHR-compliant data acquisition framework set out in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000 (RIPSA). This means that a serious question mark attaches itself to the legality of obtaining evidence of criminal activity where such investigations are conducted by actors not being public authorities such as Police Scotland.

I conclude that however well-intentioned private investigators are in their pursuit of video evidence of criminality, they should, until such times as the Scottish Parliament enacts amended legislation, ‘subcontract’ operational investigation to a relevant public authority. This might be as simple as asking Police Scotland to obtain the relevant authorisation required under the RIPSA before delegating investigative functions back to the investigator under supervision. In the longer term, the Scottish Government might benefit from examining the provision of a mechanism whereby well-intentioned private investigatory actors can be added to the list of ‘approved’ authorities for undertaking surveillance.

The Juridical Review is published by W. Green/Thomson Reuters and is available via Westlaw. An open access version of the article can be made available after an embargo period of 12 months. The most recent issue of the Juridical Review also carries an article by Malcolm Combe, on the regulation of short-term letting in Scottish land law. He has blogged about that article on his personal blog.

The duty of fair presentation in non-consumer insurance contracts – does one size fit all?

This blog post is by Viktorija Morozovaite (University of Aberdeen LLB (Hons) graduate 2016, Law and Economics LL.M. candidate at Utrecht University). It presents a condensed version of her article in the October 2017 issue of the British Insurance Law Association Journal, which in turn built on her undergraduate dissertation. It considers whether micro-businesses are adequately protected under the UK’s insurance law regime as it applies to non-consumers. The full article can be found here (£).

The duty of disclosure played a fundamental role to the conclusion of all types of insurance contracts. Codified by the Marine Insurance Act 1906 (the 1906 Act), it was designed on an assumption that it is the policyholder that possesses the relevant knowledge of risks and, therefore, it is him that should volunteer the information about those risks to the insurer. Failure to provide sufficient information would result in a great ordeal for an insured. Namely, in cases of a breach of the duty of disclosure the insurer was entitled to invoke a ‘Draconian’ remedy of avoidance, which allowed the contract to be rescinded altogether. Problematically to the insured, there was no clear guidance of how much information had to be provided to satisfy the duty of disclosure in any particular case.

However, long gone are the days since insurance contracts were concluded exclusively by merchants at the Lloyd’s Coffee House. With passing years, insurable risks have evolved and so did the types of insureds. In 2002, the British Insurance Law Association’s report called for the need to change an archaic law and marked the beginning of the joint Law Commission’s and the Scottish Law Commission’s reform project. The enactment of the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012 (the 2012 Act) separated consumer and non-consumer insurance contract law regimes in the UK, abolishing the duty of disclosure for consumers. (By “consumer”, this roughly means someone acting outwith the scope of a business, for personal purposes.) A duty of fair presentation was retained for non-consumer policyholders under the Insurance Act 2015 (the 2015 Act).

The division of the two regimes is an important change. It was rationalised by the perceived need to protect vulnerable consumers who did not understand the extent and implications of the ‘original’ duty of disclosure. Echoing similar line of argumentation, the Law Commissions suggested that micro-businesses should also be included in the consumer regime. This blog post, and the related article, explores whether it was correct for the law that was enacted not to reflect this initial proposal about micro-businesses.

What is a micro-business?

For the smallest businesses to be placed within the consumer insurance contract law regime, the term ‘micro-business’ has to be clearly defined (see Locke Lord LLP, Publication of responses to Law Commission’s proposals concerning micro-businesses).Up until 1971, the denotation of a ‘small firm’ was shrouded in mystery. The Bolton Committee’s findings demonstrated that there is no uniform definition of a small firm, as any such definition would depend on the sector that the business operates in. Therefore, instead of defining the term, the Committee resorted to providing indicative criteria, characterising what a small business would look like.

However, the initially cautious approach to defining a small firm has significantly evolved since that time. Modern company law demonstrates that a workable ‘micro-business’ definition may be found in a number of legislative initiatives aimed at micro-businesses. Examples range from exemptions from accounting requirements or VAT registration to business rates relief. It is noteworthy that by virtue of Section 33(2) of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, the legislature provided policymakers with a statutory ‘template’ for a micro-business definition. It follows that, in practice, disparities between micro-business definitions in different regulations will remain prevalent.

A subtle distinction must be drawn between designing regulatory measures that would specifically target issues relating to micro-businesses and fitting micro-businesses neatly in the consumer insurance contract law regime. While the former legislation would be modelled according to micro-businesses’ needs, the latter would focus on the needs of consumers. Whilst there is no perfect micro-business definition, it is submitted that a workable definition would have been found if there was enough support for the policy choice at stake.

Why should micro-businesses be treated as consumers?

There are a number of reasons why treating micro-businesses as consumers may appear as a rational decision in the insurance contract law context. Firstly, they share similar characteristics, including: lack of sufficient knowledge of insurance products; bargaining power; and availability of time and financial resources. The Law Commissions acknowledged this, stating: “Most micro-businesses are hardly, if at all, more sophisticated than consumers. Most are sole proprietorships, have relatively small turnovers and have no more experience in buying insurance than consumers” (see Law Commission, Issues Paper 5: Micro-Businesses Should micro-businesses be treated like consumers for the purposes of pre-contractual information and unfair terms? (April 2009), para 4.3). As the policymaker should treat like cases alike, honouring the principle of normative coherence, the argument is born for including micro-businesses in the consumer regime.

Secondly, even though the insurance industry’s practice has evolved to favour weaker parties to the contract, such practice is non-obligatory and far from uniform. The existence of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) does provide an additional safeguard for the interests of micro-businesses interests, but while it is a transparent and robust service for informal dispute adjudication, it does not treat micro-businesses as consumers for all intents and purposes. Therefore, the existence of the FOS does not negate any need for a statutory insurance contract law reform. Its role can more properly be regarded as supplementary or complementary.

Is it better for micro-businesses to be treated as consumers after all?

Despite the fact that micro-businesses and consumers share similar traits, before accepting the right policy choice, one must always look into a broader context of the reform. An important consideration in this respect is legal certainty, which is the leading guiding principle of the design and implementation of the UK’s commercial law. When the Marine Insurance Bill was presented to the House of Lords, Lord Herschell quoted Willes J in Lockyer v Offley:

As in all commercial transactions the great object is certainty, it will be necessary for this Court to lay down some rule, and it is of more consequence that the rule should be certain, than whether it is established one way or the other. The belief is that business people would rather have a clear rule that might operate harshly and against their interests in a particular case than an unclear rule designed to produce a fair and equitable result in each case but that might require a lengthy and costly process to apply.

This statement captures the very essence of the approach taken by the legislator in the insurance contract law context. By including micro-businesses in the consumer regime, the Law Commissions would have risked jeopardising legal certainty, as there are fundamental differences between the groups that cannot be discounted when deciding on an effective policy choice.

Firstly, if one is an individual acting in a private capacity, such an individual will remain a consumer irrespective of significant changes to his personal circumstances (for example, a deteriorating health condition). In contrast, in less than a year, the smallest business may flourish to fall outside the scope of the ‘micro-business’ definition and therefore the consumer regime altogether.

Secondly, a diverse group of consumers applying for the same insurance product will usually face very similar risks. However, businesses with similar number of employees or financial turnover are likely to be exposed to greatly varying hazards. This means that standardised questionnaires that allow gathering relevant information about individuals would not work with regard to different business practices.

These differences reinforce the idea that micro-businesses do not belong in the consumer insurance contract law regime. In fact, even though the initial proposal seemed attractive at first glance, in practice, it would have resulted in financial drawbacks to micro-businesses. As insurers would be exposed to greater risks for covering the smallest businesses, the logical response would be raising premiums or withdrawing the service altogether. Adopting legislative measures only makes sense if they achieve their pursued aims. Thus, with micro-businesses facing higher overall costs for obtaining insurance cover, treating them as consumers is not justified.

The initial proposal to extend consumer insurance contract law regime to include micro-businesses was primarily based on the criticisms relating to the harsh operation of the duty of disclosure under the 1906 Act. The final part of the article assessed whether the Insurance Act 2015 could constitute a flexible and well-balanced package that can effectively address the needs of different non-consumer insureds.

One size does fit all

According to the Law Commissions, in order to understand the main difference between consumer and non-consumer insurance contracts, it is crucial to consider the rules on “contracting out” (see Law Com No 353, 2014 para.6.22). That is the process whereby certain legal rules can be avoided by agreement between the parties. The 2012 Act created a mandatory regime for consumers, meaning that the insurer is not allowed to put the insured in a worse position than provided by the law. In direct contrast, the duty of fair presentation is part of a default regime. However, for any contractual alterations to be legal, the Law Commissions imposed two transparency requirements on the insurer: it must take sufficient steps to draw the relevant term to the insured’s attention before the conclusion of the contract; and the term has to be clear and unambiguous. Whether the requirements have been satisfied would be assessed in the light of the characteristics of a particular insured. Therefore, in principle, the less sophisticated the business, the stronger the obligation on the insurer to address any contractual deviations from the 2015 Act. Accordingly, micro-businesses are catered for in the 2015 Act, to a certain extent.

In addition, the ‘all or nothing’ avoidance remedy that came into play with the duty of disclosure was subject to significant criticism. The introduction of the proportionate remedies scheme in the 2015 Act was perceived as the most significant change to the old rules. Section 8 of the 2015 Act lays down qualifying breaches that would allow the insurer to use a number of remedies set under Schedule 1. The article further discussed the main differences between the non-consumer and consumer remedies schemes, concluding that the 2015 Act places micro-businesses in a far more favourable position than the old law as found in the 1906 Act and the likelihood of losing a significant claim is lower than ever before.


Insurance contract law in the UK has undergone a revolutionary change. The short-lived attempt to include micro-businesses in the consumer contract law regime reconfirmed the importance of legal certainty in the UK’s commercial law context. The Law Commissions retreated from their initial proposal because of two main reasons. Firstly, there was no agreement on an acceptable definition of a ‘micro-business’. Secondly, there was insufficient evidence of a systematic problem that would justify such policy choice. It was demonstrated that while the arguments for including micro-businesses in the consumer regime create a seemingly obvious rationale for adopting this policy choice, unravelling them in more depth has proven that such decision would be counter-productive. Therefore, the outcome of the insurance contract law reform is pragmatic. The Law Commissions designed a flexible and balanced package in the form of the 2015 Act, which would allow treating different types of business insureds according to their sophistication levels.


British and Irish Law Education and Technology Association Conference 2018 in Aberdeen

The Law School of the University of Aberdeen will be hosting the 2018 BILETA conference on 9-11 April. BILETA is one of the leading scholarly associations in law, technology and education and its annual conference – with its opportunities for dissemination, publication and friendship – is for many one of the highlights of the year.  The conference title is “Digital Futures: places and people, technology and data”; and reflecting contemporary challenges and the conference location, a particular emphasis will be placed on energy, sustainability, cultural, rural and development issues and pedagogy.

BILETA is both challenging and welcoming and PhD students are particularly welcomed (including through the availability of two prizes). There is also an overall Taylor and Francis prize. Key note speakers this year will be Professor Ronan Deazley (Queen’s University Belfast) exploring heritage and creativity; and Professor Margaret Ross (University of Aberdeen) exploring the impact of technology on the student experience, with particular reference to mental health.

Professor Abbe Brown, conference organizer, is excited at bringing the conference to Aberdeen. She sees this as an opportunity to showcase (in particular): ongoing work in information science at the University of Aberdeen; and innovative developments across Scotland in information technology and education, notably through law clinics. And perhaps most importantly, she has arranged for a cèilidh and piper…

The call for papers is here (deadline 26 January 2018) and proposals for papers and also for posters are most welcome.

#FutureLeadersConnect: Purpose and Policy

This blog post is by Emma Jones.

Being chosen as a ‘Future Leader’ by the British Council coincided serendipitously with the LLM in International Commercial Law with Professional Skills [Arbitration] I began in 2017. ‘Future Leaders Connect’ ran for the first time as a nine-day residential program during October 2017 designed by the British Council to promote policy leadership amongst ‘Future Leaders’ in various policy fields. 50 members met in the UK for nine days of activities, travelling from Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia, USA, and across the UK to be part of the global network of emerging policy leaders. Thanks must go to the School of Law which was supportive in facilitating the  trip halfway through a semester!

To qualify for the program – as one of two Scottish delegates – I submitted a policy idea related to the UK Government Department for International Development ’s 2017 Economic Strategy on leveraging development funding by working with the private sector in priority areas including large-scale infrastructure projects in developing countries. In my mind, potential issues include failure to deliver on contracts and issues of accountability on a global scale; likely implications include the emergence of a new genre of legal issues with negative impacts for the poorest of the poor. Potential issues can be addressed with effective, accountable, and targeted policy and are the kind of issues investigable with an LLM in International Commercial Law. The Future Leaders Connect programme also provided a platform to discuss these ideas with participants and sector experts.

The most important lesson I learned from the Program was to identify the ‘little big thing’ – one small thing that can be changed as steps are made towards developing bigger global changes through effective policy implementation. These ideas were shared over the  first five days of the program at the Møller Centre at the University of Cambridge where we considered what it means to be a leader, methods for researching policy, and engaging people. After the theory and research, we went to London to visit No.10 Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, the BBC, and take part in the #WalkTogether event involving Kofi Annan and Richard Branson. At Parliament, groups were set up to develop policy ideas with Members of Parliament – working with Baroness Uddin, our group discussed future policy ideas around artificial intelligence to create three specific recommendations to present at a panel discussion; this took our theory, learning, and engagement experiences full circle.

Most of the value came from the networking, mixing of different cultures, backgrounds, disciplines, and expertise which helped me develop both hard skills to build on my academic interests, underpinned by new theoretical approaches, and appreciate the value of influence and networking through soft power. I learned to recognise the fluidity of leadership and power, particularly how to fill spaces to take responsibility and strategically ride the tides of leadership, as opposed to trying to force management opportunities. The opportunity helped my professional development because it legitimised policy concerns I’ve developed through professional experience and academic curiosity; the Program provided the opportunity to escalate these issues and legitimised our concerns.

A common query amongst all the Future Leaders was understanding what had made our applications stand out and why were we selected. It seemed obvious to me why the others were selected; they are remarkable. All the future leaders shared the attitude of being less preoccupied with being out in front; instead, our primary interests are the disciplines in which we are actively engaged. If you want to apply for the Future Leaders Connect Program in 2018; do it – I didn’t think I’d be accepted onto the program, or that I qualified as a ‘Future Leader’.

For more information visit www.britishcouncil.org and/or follow #futureleadersconnect

Author Profile

Emma Jones is working towards an LLM in International Commercial Law with Arbitration at the University of Aberdeen, having returned from working in Kampala – Uganda for two years on public policy issues related to democratic governance, peace, and security for Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment [ACODE]. Prior, Emma earned a first-class BA in Development and Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, undertaking internships in the development sector alongside study. Her interests include the impact of and relationship between the public and private sector in leveraging development capital, and mitigating of negative impacts on vulnerable global populations. Get in touch at e.jones.16@aberdeen.ac.uk

Too many plans to plan Scotland?

This post is by Anne-Michelle Slater

The planning system in Scotland is set for more reform, including once again reform to the process of plan making. In launching its Programme for Government 2017-18 confirmed that a new planning bill will be introduced, “to support the effective and efficient delivery of the development our communities need” through  “…a simpler, more effective system of development plans, to set a clear view of how areas might develop in the future” (PDF, page 33).

Having worked, taught and thought about planning for 30 years, I think this statement, made by Nicola Sturgeon in 2017, could equally refer to many of the reforms proposed over the years to the landmark Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1947 and the later Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997. And, come on, Nicola, the development plan is no longer the only plan in the town and country planning system. A plethora of plans are now required within and beyond the planning system in Scotland. Most of them were introduced by the SNP administration over the last 10 years. I want to step back in this blog post and ask:

  • Are there too many plans?
  • Do the plans ‘talk’ to each other?
  • Should the plans be combined?

Planning in Scotland today

The planning system is, in my opinion, both, insufficiently nimble, and a block on new development, particularly housing development. Previous reforms have only added to the problems. Bob Reid put it very clearly in a recent article in the journal Scottish Planning and Environmental Law:

“The current planning regime in Scotland is unbelievably complex and few but the most devout adherents of bureaucracy would demur from that fact. Far from being facilitating, enabling and sleeves rolled up can do, I am afraid that decades of manning the barriers has turned our plan led system into an almost completely regulatory framework focused entirely on the statutory core of planning”.

(“Housing Crisis? What Crisis” S.P.E.L. 2015, 167, 8-9 (available on Westlaw)

The 2017-18 Planning Bill will:

  • extend the National Planning Framework to 10 years
  • abolish strategic development plans
  • create regional partnerships.
  • maintain 32 Local Development Plans
  • abolish Supplementary guidance
  • introduce local place plans
  • revive SPZs as Simplified Development Zones

But over and above these anticipated reforms relating to plan making in Scotland, I have noted an increasing tendency for the Scottish Government to respond to policy issues by requiring a plan to be created. To illustrate this I will briefly review some of the current Scotland wide plans.

The National Planning Framework (NPF) is now in its third iteration, with a 4th expected in 2020. It provides a strategic overview of Scotland with a focus on the implementation of National Developments to ensure that large scale infrastructure is provided. For example, The Queensferry Crossing, was identified as a National Development in NPF 2 2009. National Developments are determined by the Scottish Government and although they require planning permission from the various planning authorities in which they are located, the principle of the National Development has already been decided. The rest of the NPF is regarded as a material consideration in local planning decisions.

Queensferry Crossing. Photo by Klaus Foehl, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Getting The Best From Our Land: A Land use Strategy 2016-2021, regarded as the rural NPF was a direct requirement of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.  Now in its second iteration, it is very detailed and can be used to inform local development. Like the NPF, the format is Scotland wide.

Scotland’s National Marine Plan adopted in 2015 is another new national level plan. It covers all marine and coastal development and activities, as well as marine conservation and Marine Protected Areas in Scotland’s territorial waters and extending out to 200nm. This plan was central to the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and powers to extend the plan out to 200 nm derive from the devolution settlement and through and the Marine and Coastal Access act 2009, by executive devolution. Decisions made in Scottish waters must have regard to the marine plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

1. Are there too many plans? I like the creation of plans as a way of creating policy. I particularly welcome the plans which take Scotland as a whole. It is the only sensible approach in a small but diverse country. All too often decision making has suffered from being compartmentalised in terms of both sector and geographical location. Scotland requires more connections and holistic approaches in both the approach to development and to conservation; to address really difficult issues such as housing, transport, climate change and economic development. These cross local and legal boundaries and jurisdictions over land and sea. It is very good to see topics such as climate change and rural development being dealt with at national level and the expertise brought to all the national plans is to be commended. But plans require to be implemented and it is important for that to ensure that at the very least the national plans ‘talk’ to each other.

2. Do the plans ‘talk’ to each other? All the plans are required to take into account each other. The jurisdiction of the NPF extends to low water and the national marine plans goes inland as far as high tide. The NPF and the Land Use Strategy are considered complementary. I do not think this is enough. There is still too much ‘silo’ mentality and the only way to consider the country as a whole is to combine the national plans into a super plan for future Scotland.

3. Should existing plans be combined? I say a resounding YES. It would be complicated in the short term to combine the 3 national plans. Different legislation and policy would have to be examined and considered. But this is an opportunity for a real joining up and momentum for action. Disparate government departments and disciplines would have to work together, as well as multiple agencies and NGOs. It would be newsworthy and engage the Scottish public and the wider world.

REAL Planning Reform for Scotland

There are not too many plans in Scotland. The plans that have been created for urban and rural areas the infrastructure, for rural development and for the marine areas have been developed with care and expertise. But they need to do more than nod to each other. They need to do more than even talk to each other. The NPF, the Land Use Strategy and Scotland’s National Marine Plan plans should be amalgamated and combined to create one plan for Scotland. This can be the starting point for all strategic planning for Scotland as a whole.


Planning reform in Scotland should include unified and holistic plans across the urban, rural and seas of Scotland. Such bold and creative action could galvanise the various disparate development and conservation strands and spark creativity and action in a unified and clear purpose: to plan Scotland.

Daphne Caruana Galizia and the rule of law: A note to law students

This post is by Dr Justin Borg-Barthet

It isn’t my job to preach to you or to teach you right from wrong.  But I will, on this occasion, explain why the skills we impart are so important.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was a Maltese journalist. I never met her, but wrote for her on a handful of occasions.  On Monday 16 October 2017, she was assassinated in a horrendous car explosion outside her home.  Her family explains that she was assassinated “because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it”.

Daphne – she is that well known in Malta; no need for surnames to identify her – was killed because she exposed corruption.  She argued that Malta had become a vassal State of criminal organisations.  She showed how the Prime Minister’s closest aides set up secret offshore companies, allegedly to process kickbacks from Azeri and Chinese dictatorships.  She showed how a bank – Pilatus Bank – was established in Malta to launder the money of politically exposed persons, and how action against the bank had been suppressed.  She revealed that the Leader of the Opposition had also engaged in money laundering; in his case as a legal practitioner acting for a transnational prostitution racket.

More importantly, Daphne saw the signs that the rule of law was being undermined.  She observed the perversion of judicial appointments, the emasculation of the police force and prosecutors, and the weakening of financial intelligence services.  She died because of what she revealed – not simply because she revealed it, but also because the violation of the rule of law results in organised crime running riot, in organised crime being enabled to commit heinous crimes against freedom of speech.

This, dear students, is where you come into the story.  As lawyers, you will be the first to note that the rule of law is being undermined.  You will be the first to see the tell-tale signs that rights are being eroded, and that systems for the protection and enforcement of rights are being reprogrammed.

Do not be complacent.  This can happen anywhere.  I too thought that I was growing up in a relatively normal country governed by the rule of law in Malta.  Change can be rapid, especially in constitutional systems which rely on trust and trustworthiness for institutional effectiveness.

If you see the signs, you will have but one choice.  You may choose, like Daphne, to stand between the rule of law and those who choose to violate it.  Or you may choose to stand with those who violate the rule of law.  There is no other choice.  You may not sit on the fence, because there is no fence on which to sit.  Those who violate the rule of law rely on a code of silence – omertà – silence is their weapon.

It’s a grave choice, and one for each of you to make for yourselves.  But remember the words of an Italian judge who was murdered by the Mafia: “they can kill one, two of us, but they cannot kill us all”.