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Advice on Obscenity

We are probably the only lawyers in the country who have a specialist knowledge and practice in the area of obscenity and freedom of speech.

The law here is contained in the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and the archaic test is whether an item would ‘tend to deprave or corrupt’ its viewer. This is effectively the same law that was used to prosecute Penguin Books in the ‘Lady Chatterley’ trial and similar to that used in the infamous ‘Oz’ trial.

We live in a time of changing tastes and standards and these laws are still used to criminalise those who the authorities think have overstepped the mark. Of course, this is not always wholesome stuff, but our belief is that censorship must be robustly challenged in the courts and only used in the most exceptional circumstances. We have acted in groundbreaking cases defending the rights of the individual, including R v GS in which the Court of Appeal determined that internet ‘chat’ between two people was publication of material and therefore falls within the OPA, a worrying decision touching on personal privacy.

We have advised radical artists and galleries on the contents of their works and magazines on whether their materials contravene the legislation. We frequently assist businesses, including in the adult industry, by reviewing their products and advertising materials and providing reassurance to banks or backers that that they have not inadvertently broken the law.

Our obscenity advice specialists are part of our London based sexual freedom team. We have almost four decades of experience helping clients from around the UK with a wide variety of legal matters. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 250 6017 today.