DK points us towards a post by Bella Gerens in which the following definition is proposed;
The truth is that advocates of freedom are found all over the political spectrum, but the only true libertarians are the ones who advocate it at all times in all circumstances, from the bedroom to the wallet – who believe that ‘freedom from’ is the only state of being consistent with the dignity and majesty of humankind.
‘Freedom from’ is the most important part of that ideology. Freedom from coercion. Freedom from interference. Freedom from oppression.Libertarians believe you should be free from coercion – and that you must not coerce anyone else. Libertarians believe you should be free from interference – and that you must not interfere with anyone else. Libertarians believe you should be free from oppression – and that you must not oppress anyone else. Because these are to be universal freedoms: what you do not wish done to you, you must not do to anyone else.
But when you ask to whom this 'freedom from' right should be granted, the answer is rarely 'everyone'. John Stuart Mill, the Libertarian guru, excluded children - and indeed anyone under 21 - from being free from coercion and interference. He also excluded anyone in a state that required them to be 'taken care of by others', all people who are in 'backward states of society' and anyone who is a 'nuisance' to others. Oh, and he qualifies the entire thing by writing that liberty should apply to words but not necessarily to deeds - 'no one pretends that actions should be as free as opinions'.
And Bella sensibly excludes freedom from coercion not to burgle, rob, rape or murder from Libertarianism, on the grounds that these interfere with other people's right to freedom from being burgled, robbed, raped or murdered. You see, you can't talk about freedoms without talking about rights.
And of course we should be free from the effects of the negligence of others; I should be free from your wall falling on me, free from your car knocking me over because you haven't maintained the brakes and steering, free from the oppression of your 200w stereo preventing me from sleeping. And I should be free from the material injury of your reneging on a contract. I should be free from poisoning caused by your selling adulterated foods, free from the material damage caused by your telling lies about me and free from your unwarranted intrusion into my private life without recourse.
I should also be free from being coerced into not making moral judgements about the actions and behaviour of others; my conscience and my morality are personal and an intrinsic part of who I am. I should be free from coercion, interference and oppression in making shared moral judgements with others who are of my mind. For this I need to be free from coercion or restriction in what I write or say or what I print or publish.
And of course all these 'freedoms from' are also rights.
And what has all this to do with interlocutory injunctions?
When the European Convention on Human Rights (or 'freedoms from' if you prefer) was incorporated into English law under the Human Rights ('freedoms from') Act, there was an underlying tension between Article 8 - respect for privacy and Article 10 - freedom of expression; I should be free from unwarranted intrusion but also free from coercion, interference or oppression in expressing myself. Whilst I don't challenge your right to dress up as a Nazi stormtrooper and throw cream buns at a naked rent boy in the privacy of your own bedroom, if you're a public figure I reserve my right to share my legitimate information about it (a statement from the rent boy, say) and comment adversely on your morality.
s.12 of the Human Rights Act, though, provides a sort of safeguard. You can go to court and say 'Look, I have a right to freedom from unwarranted intrusion into my privacy. If Radders publishes his information, I'll be ruined - even though I'm confident that I'd win an action for defamation against him after the event'. The court can grant an interlocutory injunction prohibiting publication on these grounds.
In evidence to the Culture Media and Sport select committee Sir Anthony Clarke, Master of the Rolls, said;
Here, the test you have to establish is that the claimant is "likely to establish that publication should not be allowed". In fact, the House of Lords in a case called Cream has considered what that means. I would recommend anybody who is interested in section 12 to read the House of Lords decision and reasoning in the case of Cream because it does set out in very considerable detail the approach which the House of Lords decided the courts should adopt. If you are thinking about this, I would recommend that you do look carefully at the reasoning in Cream because any new law would have to grapple with that. It is a somewhat nuanced approach but, essentially, the provision is as stated in this statute; namely, that you have to show that it is likely (in the sense of "more likely than not") that you will win at the trial. That is quite a tough test. As compared with other areas of our life, it does give the defendant - the media, if you like - quite a bit of protection. It always has, historically, been very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain an injunction, for example, to restrain the publication of something which is said to be defamatory. If the defendant has indicated that they may wish to justify the allegation, then the general rule is that no injunction will be granted, because it is recognised that freedom of expression is a very important right - as you say, recognised by article 10.And here is where Libertarians may find themselves in bed with Trafigura and Max Mosley in seeking to restrict free speech and the freedom of the press where this conflicts with a 'freedom from' potential defamation.
As I say, fine as long as you don't think about it.