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Ash, Solicitor
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I am contributing a brief article to the Oxford Free Speech

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I am contributing a brief article to the Oxford Free Speech Debate, run by Timothy Garton Ash.
I am curious to know whether anyone has ever proposed (as an alternative to hate speech cases, and without a separate law criminalising holocaust denial) that atrocity deniers should be liable to legal sanction for emotional abuse of survivors and their families.
By emotional abuse I mean the sort of harm which is included in child protection law and in the law on domestic violence, but it would apply to adults predictably affected by the denier's attitude to the reality of their experience. This is the gist of my own suggestion.
Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : Do you mean subject to criminal or civil sanctions please?

I'm not sure.

Alex Watts : Criminal no. There is no law against denial.

I believe criminal sanctions are part of the child protection and domestic violence law. I think I had this in mind as an alternative to the hate speech or holocaust denial statutes.

Alex Watts : There is clearly law regarding racial aspects such as remarks etc.
Alex Watts : as for civil matters. Someone would need to show that they suffered as a result of what you said and it had been negligent
Alex Watts : Indeed it would invoke your right to free speech
Alex Watts : people are free to say many things, within the law
Alex Watts : So nothing discriminatory such as race, colour, sex, religion and such forth
Alex Watts : But to deny that if happened is not an offenc e
Alex Watts : Civil they would have too many hurdles.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

I think I'm arguing for a specific restriction on free speech, because UK has no separate 'denial' law like some other European countries.

Alex Watts : Indeed. There is no law against you doing this in the UK. You are entitled to your opinion as long as you are not racist.

Perhaps a criminal liability could be justified, because of the harm involved, even if there is no discriminatory incitement involved in the atrocity denial.

Alex Watts : No I don't think so. It's not a specific criminal offence
Alex Watts : If it's inciting racial hatred. That's different. Please see
Alex Watts :
Alex Watts : But as long as you are not doing that, it's not an offenc e
Alex Watts : Does that clarify?

Thank you. I think there ought to be some sort of criminal offence for atrocity denial, analogous to emotionally abusing a spouse or a child but saying it's not because you don't love them.

Alex Watts : But there is not at the moment. Whether there should be is a matter for government and MPs
Alex Watts : I can only tell you the legal position
Ash, Solicitor
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Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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