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Folking Lawyers (PEL)

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GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 15 Dec 02 - 06:22 PM
Midchuck 15 Dec 02 - 07:16 PM
NH Dave 16 Dec 02 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 16 Dec 02 - 05:49 PM
InOBU 16 Dec 02 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 16 Dec 02 - 06:33 PM
vectis 16 Dec 02 - 06:56 PM
The Shambles 17 Dec 02 - 12:13 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge 17 Dec 02 - 03:09 AM
InOBU 17 Dec 02 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,The Admiral 17 Dec 02 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 18 Dec 02 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 18 Dec 02 - 05:00 PM
Richard Bridge 23 Dec 02 - 12:58 PM
ET 23 Dec 02 - 02:19 PM
Richard Bridge 23 Dec 02 - 05:56 PM
vectis 23 Dec 02 - 08:24 PM
Richard Bridge 24 Dec 02 - 03:49 AM
GUEST,Chipinder 24 Dec 02 - 04:20 AM
vectis 24 Dec 02 - 05:23 PM
vectis 24 Dec 02 - 06:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Dec 02 - 06:46 PM
Richard Bridge 30 Dec 02 - 04:52 AM
vectis 30 Dec 02 - 05:58 PM
InOBU 30 Dec 02 - 11:25 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Jan 03 - 05:41 AM
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Subject: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 06:22 PM

I've been asked to put together a consortium of unpaid UK lawyers who might fancy telling Minister Howells (in the nicest possible way) what to do with the bill.

I remember a guy at Broadstairs one year (about 10 year ago) who sang a song about the effects of fibre in fruit and bananas, the chorus of which was rhythmic simulated flatulence (that bit to the "tune" of the chorus of "the laughing policeman") - and I was told he was known as "the silly solicitor".

Can anyone help me trace him?

Does anyone else know any other folking (or otherwise acoustically sort of musical) lawyers?

Richard McD. Bridge

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: Midchuck
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 07:16 PM

I'm one. But I'm on the wrong side of the pond, and I have no influence whatever even over here.

Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: NH Dave
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 05:41 PM

It is my understanding that John Perrault, a local NH folk singer, is a practicing attorney.


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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 05:49 PM

Richard, post some contact details.

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: InOBU
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 06:22 PM

Hi Richard! Political Scientist with a Juris Doctorate, but, sorry, also on the wrong side of the pond! But, we are with you in spirit, and a letter or two! All the best as ever, Larry Otway

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 06:33 PM

Need to be UK lawyers, or EU lawyers with a knowledge of ECHR application to Human Rights/Freedom of expression issues.

email me

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: vectis
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 06:56 PM

The mad solicitor is John Joseph. He works in the Crawley, sussex area. If you want his precise address let me know and I'll PM it to you.
He really is much madder than you implied but a cracking lawyer by all accounts.

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 12:13 AM

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 03:09 AM

Vectis, please email me the details using the blue clicky Sham has so helfully provided.

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: InOBU
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 09:04 AM

By the by Richard, PM me at I have a UK case to disscuss with you, may be fun. Also, any chance of you getting to the North of Ireland for the Mudcat Gathering? Genie and I will likely be there. Cheers Larry

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: GUEST,The Admiral
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 10:56 AM

I believe that 'Catter Gervaise and his Partner Maryjane have looked into the 'Human Rights' aspects of this but from the brief conversation I had with them this line was a no-hoper. I don't have his email address to hand but I think that Gervaise may be someone you'll want to talk to....

Good Luck with the efforts!

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 11:06 AM

vectis, my directory does not yield up such a solicitor - Please Email me as above.

Admiral please ask Gervaise or MaryJane to email me as above.

Larry, I emailed you please email me as above if it does not reach you, pm not possible as I lost my cookie and have never bothered to reset.

Sham, I left the P out by accident.

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 05:00 PM


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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Dec 02 - 12:58 PM

Never a lawyer around when you want one...

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: ET
Date: 23 Dec 02 - 02:19 PM

Problem with Human Righs is

1. you need a conviction
2. you need to exhaust all UK court routes
3. Six years later the Court in Stratsbourg adjudicates.

See also from Hamish MU

(Please forward

The online petition opposing the live music provisions of the Licensing Bill has just passed the 12,000 signature mark:

While licensing Minister Kim Howells has announced a government 'rethink' on the licensing of all secular music in churches, there is no sign of movement over the 'none in a bar' position for everywhere else.

The government is trying to spin their way out of public opposition by claiming the new live music licence will be cheap and easy to obtain. It is in fact highly unlikely that licences will be either easy or cheap to get. The Local Government Association has recently circulated a discussion paper which envisages licence applications for live music detailing the style of music, the maximum number of musicians, where in the premises they are to play, and when. Such a prescriptive approach might be appropriate for premises where live music is the main business, but it is unworkable for informal folk sessions, or jazz jam sessions in pubs or bars.

Stuart Neame, of Shepherd Neame brewery, claims that if pubs opt for live music under the new regime many could face local authority licence conditions costing up to £10,000. Certainly I have heard that even small acoustic folk pubs are being required to provide door supervisors (to count people in and out) and to install double glazing.

Remember that the Bill exempts broadcast or jukebox music, however powerfully amplified. The government has looked carefully at safety and noise legislation and concluded that it is adequate to deal with noisy crowds jumping up and down in pubs.)

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Dec 02 - 05:56 PM

Hi ET.

Are you the solicitor at Slaughters I am trying to contact? Are you a solicitor? IF so do you want to see and consider adhering to the open letter to Howells I am trying to get performer-lawyers to support? If so email me as above please.

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: vectis
Date: 23 Dec 02 - 08:24 PM

have you got the e-mail yet?

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 03:49 AM

Vectis, yes thanks.

Sorry about the lack of manners and not acknowledging - it's a pressing time of year!

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: GUEST,Chipinder
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 04:20 AM


The Human Rights Act 1998, which came into force in October 2000 (I believe) means that HR cases can be heard in UK courts without having to go to Strasbourg. I think you're right that they need to have exhausted all other routes to remedy but I don't think there is much in the way of HR case law through the UK courts yet - perhaps this is a test case? I'm not sure though which Article of the Convention this falls foul of!

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: vectis
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 05:23 PM

Freedom of expression?

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: vectis
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 06:21 PM

I have just found this excellent resume of the situation on another forum. Those writing to MPs can use ideas from it to help them.
Folkies from abroad could help us by writing as tourists and potential tourists to our Government and Tourist Board.

We could also commit an act of mass civil disobedience to prove that the new legislation is unworkable. A few performers in every public place in the country at the same time on the same day would prove it to be unenforceable. Remember Kielder Scout!!

This is what the Licensing Bill proposes:
110,000 on-licensed premises in England and Wales (pubs, bars, restaurants etc) would lose the right to allow one or two musicians to perform. Case law precedent dates this limited exemption back to at least 1899 for unpaid performers. It was incorporated into primary legislation with the Licensing Act 1961, allowing one or two professional performers.
The provision of one unamplified guitarist, paid or unpaid, once a month in a restaurant would become a criminal offence unless licensed.
Broadcast entertainment on satellite or terrestrial tv, or radio, is to remain exempt from licensing under this Bill. There is no requirement to declare these entertainments on licence applications, nor to disclose the power of amplification used.
15,000 churches outside London would lose their licensing exemption for public concerts - bizarrely this would replace 1982 legislation with provisions dating from 1963 that apply only in London.
5,000 registered members clubs lose their licensing exemption for live
Thousands of private events, hitherto exempt, become licensable if 'for consideration and with a view to profit'.
The same applies to any private performance raising money for charity.
Even wedding receptions, corporate functions, parties, Bar Mitvahs etc are affected: payment to bandleaders or DJs organising entertainment (which may be bands, dance floors, PAs etc etc)triggers the licence requirement. This is disputed by the government, but expert licensing lawyers have confirmed that this is the effect of the wording of the Bill (Schedule 1, paras 1(4) and 1(5) in particular).
A new licensing criterion is introduced: the provision of 'entertainment facilities'. This clearly includes the provision of musical instruments and any amplification where applicable. This would mean professional rehearsal studios, broadcasting studios etc will be illegal unless first licensed.
Premises without a licence allowing live music will be restricted to 5
events per year, a maximum of 499 people attending/participating. Temporary event permissions may last up to 72 hours. 'Premises' is defined as 'any place' in the Bill (Clause 188). That means your front room, garden, a street, park or field, etc etc.
Musicians could be guilty of a criminal offence if they don't check first that premises hold the appropriate authorisation for their performance.
Buskers similarly potential criminals - unless they perform under a
licensing authorisation.
Church bell ringing, except when part of a religious service, would a criminal offence unless licensed.
Organised carol singing, on front door steps or in the street, would be a criminal offence unless licensed.
The maximum penalty for unlicensed performance is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.
The one measure welcomed by the MU is the proposal to cap fees and set them centrally. However, as discussed below this alone will not bring about a renaissance in local gigs.

The licensing rationale, where live music is concerned, is essentially to prevent overcrowding and noise nuisance. The government claims their reforms will usher in a licensing regime fit for the 21st century. But surely 21st century planning, safety, noise and crime and disorder legislation can deal effectively with most of the problems associated with live music?

Not according to Culture Minister Kim Howells. He says the swingeing
increase in regulation is necessary because 'one musician with modern
amplification can make more noise than three without'. Of course it is true that amplification can make one musician louder than another playing without amplification. But that was true when the two performer exemption was introduced in 1961 and had been true for many years before that. The important questions are: does live music present a serious problem for local authorities? Does this problem justify the increase in licensing control? The answer, on both counts, is no.

Noise from live music is not the problem
The Noise Abatement Society has confirmed that over 80% of noise complaints about pubs are caused by noisy people outside the premises. The remaining percentage is mostly down to noisy recorded music or noisy machinery. In fact, while noisy bands can be a problem, complaints about live music are relatively rare. In any case, local authorities have powerful legislation to tackle noise breakout from premises. All local authorities can seize noisy equipment, and they can serve anticipatory noise abatement notices.
Camden used a noise abatement notice to close the West End musical Umoja earlier this year. One resident's complaints were enough. And the police can close noisy pubs immediately for up to 24 hours. The trouble is, many complainants perceive the legislation as inadequate because their local authority doesn't enforce it effectively.

It looks as if musicians are being made the scapegoat for a problem that is nothing to do with live music. Certainly abolition of the two-performer licensing exemption will do nothing to reduce noise from people outside premises.

Rather late in the day, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has just commissioned a study into the noise nuisance potential of the licensing reforms - but the study won't be completed until the Spring of 2003 at the earliest. A classic case of shutting the stable door...

Standardised licence fees alone will not revitalise live music
The government says that standardising licensing fees, with no premium for entertainment, removes the disincentive to provide live music. This change is welcome. However, fees are only half the problem. The other half is the potential for unnecessary local authority licence conditions. Earlier this year, Kim Howells warned the Musicians' Union that if it were to lobby for satellite tv to become a licensable entertainment, this would be 'resisted robustly' by the leisure industry. He did not say why, but the reasons are clear. The industry does not believe government assurances that local
authorities will adhere to published guidance over future licence
conditions. They fear the cost implications of conditions such as monitored safe capacities, and CCTV. (Two years ago the Home Office warned all local authorities not to impose disproportionate conditions. Few, if any, took notice).

The Scottish comparison
Genuine 21st century reform for live music, particularly small-scale
performance in pubs and bars, would see England and Wales brought into line with Scotland, Ireland and continental Europe. Scotland is a good example because public safety and noise is regulated by UK-wide legislation. In that country a typical bar or pub can host live music automatically during permitted hours, provided the music is ancillary to the main business. In New York City, premises of capacity 200 or less are likewise free of a requirement to seek prior authorisation for live music. Noise breakout is strictly monitored by street patrols. In Germany, Finland and Denmark the provision of some live music is assumed when the equivalent of an on-licence is granted. In rural Ireland no permission is need for live music in a pub, and customers would think it very odd to suggest that it be a criminal offence unless first licensed.

The Musicians' Union has argued for reform along Scottish lines for some time. But the government has rejected this option. Our campaign for more live music, particularly in small venues, is supported by the Arts Council, the Church of England, Equity, the English Folk Dance and Song Society and many others. The Union recognises that premises specialising in music, or music and dance (like nightclubs) need the additional controls that licensing provide. But if live music of all kinds is to thrive in small community venues like pubs, an automatic permission, within certain parameters, is essential. We should not treat all musicians as potential criminals. That doesn't sit well with the participation and access agenda of the DCMS.

Public entertainment licensing - historical context
Licensing the performance of live music began in 1753. Its had one aim: to curb rowdy ale-houses in the City of Westminster! The shift towards public safety as the licensing rationale increased throughout the 19th and early 20th century. It is important to note that, compared to today, safety and noise legislation at that time was rudimentary or non-existent. However, in 1899 an important legal case established that where two pub customers (and probably more) made regular music for their own amusement, no charge being made, this should not be licensable. [Brearley v. Morely, 1899, 2 QB 121]
The government's proposals would make even this limited amount of live
music illegal unless licensed.

In 1961 this limited precedent was incorporated and expanded in the
Licensing Act of that year. For the first time landlords could hire one or two professional musicians without a public entertainment licence (PEL).
This exemption was retained in the Licensing Act 1964, (S.182) which is the current legislation. The two performer exemption is known to musicians as the 'two in a bar rule'.

Until 1983 magistrates administered the PEL regime. Fees were nominal and the licence relatively easy to obtain. The sharp decline in live music in pubs and bars began when local authorities were handed control of PELs in 1983. Fees rose steeply in many areas, and PEL conditions became onerous.
The combined costs proved an effective deterrent to seeking PELs. Only 5% of 110,000 on-licensed premises currently hold annual PELs.

Since the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 (HSWA), the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Noise Act 1996, and other legislation which imposes a statutory duty on employers to undertake risk assessments of all activities on their premises, and a statutory duty on local authorities to enforce health and safety legislation where entertainment is provided (irrespective of PELs) many, if not most, of the safety and noise controls available via PELs have become unnecessary for incidental live music in a typical pub or restaurant. This is borne out by the Scottish licensing regime where no PEL is required for incidental live music in licensed premises during permitted hours. Safety and noise legislation applies UK-wide.

However, PELs do provide necessary additional controls for premises such as nightclubs where it may be difficult to enforce necessary measures using subsisting legislation (such as chill out rooms, free drinking water, door supervisers etc).

Safe capacities - a key issue
There will be much debate about 'safe capacities' and how they may set in pubs, bars and nightclubs. Contrary to claims made in various letters to MPs by Culture Minister Kim Howells, there is a means whereby safe capacities are set in pubs or bars now without recourse to PELs. Licensing justices can and do append a safe capacity, on the recommendation of the fire service, when granting a justices on-licence. Noise limiting conditions are set in the same way if local authorities make representations. The power used is s.4 of the Licensing Act 1964 which confers general powers on the licening justices to impose conditions that are in the public interest. Because this power is to be abolished by the government's reform, this means that one important pre-emptive measure that might apply to premises providing non-licensable entertainments (such as satellite tv) will be lost.

The Justices Clerks' Society publishes guidance that discourages the
practice of appending conditions to on-licences, but their guidance has no statutory force, and safe capacities and noise limiting conditions are set in this way in London, Birmingham and some other parts of the country.

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 06:46 PM

The trouble with civil disobediance is likely to be that the buggers just ignore it. Permissive repression. And then they jump on you when you aren't expecting it.

Not that that's a valid reason for not doing it - but don't expect dramatic results. If the law goes through it might be easier to break it in a way that has some effect - at present publicans tend to roll over at the first hint of trouble, reasonably enough, since it's their livelihood at stake. Once the law penalises musicians as well there are more likely to be some court cases - and I'd think that we could win those, under the freedom of expression heading.

But a musically farting lawyer - now that could be a test case and a half.

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 04:52 AM

As sent to the Minister and the Times yesterday. Press releases will follow. While all other news is suspended for Xmas and the new year, perhaps it will be picked up.....

The Performer-Lawyer Group
care of: - MacDonald Bridge, Solicitors
Forge House, High Street, Lower Stoke,
Nr. Rochester, Kent ME3 9RD
Tel: 01634 27 27 20 Fax: 01634 27 27 21
Email: McLaw
Dr. K Howells
The House of Commons
London SW1A 1AA
An Open Letter to the Minister        Date: 28th December 2002

Sir        The Licensing Bill

Following the debate on the above bill in the House of Lords in Committee, it is widely speculated that the Department of Culture Media and Sport will consider reasonable and moderately expressed suggestions for the reform or improvement of the entertainment licensing regime as currently expressed in the bill.

Two of the undersigned drafted a number of the amendments put forward in that debate. All of us are lawyers: barristers, solicitors, lecturers, or other. All of us have performed in public in drama or in forms of music, usually unamplified. We all have the greatest concern at the cultural harm that is likely to follow from the Bill as at present drafted. In the interests of brevity we will not cover all of our concerns in this letter, the purpose of which, rather, is to set out a better method of evaluating the appropriateness of the regime to be enacted.

The Licensing White Paper set out its objectives thus: -
a)        to reduce crime and disorder;
b)        to encourage tourism;
c)        to reduce alcohol misuse; and
d)        to encourage self-sufficient rural communities.

The explanatory memorandum to the Bill sets out the objectives of the licensing regime therein: -
a)        the prevention of crime and disorder;
b)        public safety;
c)        the prevention of public nuisance; and
d)        the protection of children from harm.

These are all praiseworthy, but cannot by themselves form a complete code for the evaluation of proposed laws. Indeed, the English legal system has long required prohibitions to be clearly set out, and recently it has expressly adopted requirements that prohibitions be justified and proportional to the harm they address.

Therefore, as well as testing the proposed Licensing Bill by the above two sets of objectives, further consideration must be given. We suggest that the provisions of the law should (without limitation) be assessed by the additional evaluation of what other things they would restrict or prevent. Then consideration should be given to the extent that those other things were desirable, the importance of them, and the gravity of the harm (if any) that would be done to them.

When we apply these considerations, certain things immediately become apparent.

It has been repeatedly put to the Minister that certain programming on television, if displayed in places of alcoholic refreshment, tends to create disorder. Yet the minister has adjudged it unnecessary to add to the regulation of such use of television (no matter what the screen size or the volume of amplification). In this respect, the proposed legislation does not meet the requirements of the minister's own touchstones. Additionally there is no suggestion that the television industry would be harmed or significantly harmed by the regulation of television in this setting. Nor is there any suggestion that that which might be restricted under this head is culturally important.

Further, it is thought to be the fact that the greatest number of complaints about noise emanating from places of alcoholic refreshment, and of disorderly subsequent conduct, relate to the playing of recorded music. Yet the Minister has not added to the regulation of the playing of recorded music in such settings and has expressly in certain cases exempted it from regulation under the proposed law. But there is no suggestion that the recorded music industry would be significantly harmed by the regulation of recorded music in this setting. Nor is there any suggestion that that which might be restricted under this head is culturally important.

It would be idle to deny that there are some (but not as many) complaints about the playing of amplified live music in places of alcoholic refreshment, and of disorderly subsequent conduct. Yet both of these things are supposed to be controlled by the current public entertainment licensing system. The proposals put forward in the Bill do not reveal how the new licensing regime will succeed where the old failed. They do not reveal how there will be any increased control of such antisocial noise breakout or disorder as there may be. But they do reveal that all live performances currently permitted without licence under the so-called "two in a bar" rule will in future require licensing. This is a remarkable extension of state control, and there is no cogent evidence to suggest that any pressing social problem arises from the liberality of this rule. Such problems as there may be do not seem to be addressed with any specificity.

However, there are bodies of music (and in some cases dance) in relation to which, we suggest, there are absolutely no recorded incidents of noise or other nuisance, crime, disorder, danger, or corruption of minors. Remarkably, such things also appear (according to their respective natures) to encourage tourism, to encourage the self sufficiency of rural communities (by encouraging local cultural values) and to be culturally important. We refer to unamplified music (be it classical, modern such as jazz, or traditional as folk music). We refer also to folk dance. All of these things will require licensing under the present draft of the law, and for the reasons stated that is not necessary. The suggestion that licensing might be so "light touch" and so limited by regulations (not yet made or seen) that no disincentive could arise would be disingenuous. These cultural sectors do not enjoy the commercial robustness of television or recorded music, nor indeed of most amplified music. Their effective survival will therefore be placed in jeopardy unless the proposed law is substantially altered.

Finally, apart from the illogicality of treating unamplified and amplified music identically when they are not the same, and the further illogicality of treating recorded or broadcast music more favourably than live music, we turn to the Human Rights aspect of the proposed restrictions, and to the convention obligations of this Government. We respectfully suggest that insofar as the proposed restrictions (as they stand at present drafted) relate to the bodies of music and dance last above referred to, not only can it not by any stretch of the imagination be shown that there is, in this respect, any pressing social problem requiring address, but, further, to threaten the existence of these important (if in some cases, dated) cultural values is substantially disproportionate to the requirements of a democratic society. There is of course a margin of appreciation in such tests, but we would at least add that there is no indication that the government has genuinely assessed the problems caused by live unamplified music and the extent to which any further restriction of it would be proportionate.

Yours, etc

Colin Hart-Leverton QC.
Cheryl Jones, barrister
John Morgan, barrister, lecturer
Laurence J Watt, solicitor
Robin Bynoe, solicitor
Richard McD. Bridge, solicitor, lecturer.
John Joseph, solicitor
E. Twigger, justices clerk.

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: vectis
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 05:58 PM


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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: InOBU
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 11:25 PM

Excellent letter Richard, really gets at the heart of it. I have been rattling cages here about a folk exeption to the caberette laws in New York, as we have really seen a fatal blow to folk in New York as the softest target of those laws here. In spite of some folkies on this board saying that folk is alive and profitably well in New York, one only has to see the few New York mudcatters to see that this is in fact the case.
Carry on the good fight

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Subject: RE: Folking Lawyers (PEL)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 05:41 AM

Monday's Press Release

care of: - MacDonald Bridge, Solicitors
Forge House, High Street, Lower Stoke,
Nr. Rochester, Kent ME3 9RD
Tel: 01634 27 27 20 Fax: 01634 27 27 21
Email: McLaw


        Date: 6 January 2003

The Performer-Lawyer Group was formed at Christmas, to oppose the harms threatened by the entertainment licensing provisions of the Licensing Bill. The founder members are professional lawyers and also performers (of music or other forms of entertainment threatened by the Bill).

The first action of the Group was to write an open letter to the Minister, pointing out the unsoundness of these entertainment licensing provisions, and also pointing out their incompatibility with internationally and UK recognised human rights. A copy is attached.

Richard McD. Bridge, administrator of the Group, says: -

"Even by current political standards, the extent to which the government is prepared to dissemble and mislead in the pursuit of a doctrinaire and irrational licensing system is remarkable. We intend to continue to expose the extraordinary lack of joined-up thinking that leads to the Department of Culture proposing a bill that will do so much cultural harm."

Hamish has asked me to collate an agreed view on the effect of the bill on private parties too.

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