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Human Earrings, Human Rights and Public Decency


Tom Lewis

BA(Oxon), Solicitor, is a Senior Lecturer of Law, Department of Academic Legal Studies, Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University
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This article argues that the use of the common law offence of outraging public decency to attack art and artists (as it was in R v. Gibson – the ‘foetus earrings’ case – in 1991) has effectively been rendered impossible by the Human Rights Act. This is the case despite the fact that the European Commission of Human Rights found there to be no breach of the article 10 right to freedom of expression in the case of Gibson itself. The HRA mandates reform of such common law provisions and will lead to more rigorous protection of the right to artistic expression by domestic courts than has hitherto been available at Strasbourg.
How to Cite: Lewis, T. (2002). Human Earrings, Human Rights and Public Decency. The Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, 1(2), 3. DOI:
Published on 20 Jun 2002.
Peer Reviewed


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