Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bullstrode's Latin phrase book: habeas corpus

Literally meaning '[You shall] have the body', habeas corpus is a fundamental English common law writ, which protects a citizen against arbitrary or unlawful detention by requiring the authorities to bring detained persons before the court and establish the lawfulness of their detention. An example:

'Mr Whitelocke, I do not understand your submission. As I have previously indicated, Hawkeye is not a legal entity and it is not possible to serve a writ of habeas corpus on it.'

Unfortunately my brush with Hawkeye and the Woodies in the fateful summer of 1997 was not my only occasion to invoke the 'great writ'*.

Hawkeye, once again whistling its macabre siren call.

* For a full discussion about the frankly bizarre limits to the defences to a charge of hunting on private land under section 28J of the Summary Offences Act, see 'When is a dog wild? Semantics again triumph the spirit of the law' TB Whitelocke KC 24 AltCrimJ 7 - 125.

1 comment:

  1. Please post a link to your groundbreaking article, as the journal you refer to seems to be out of print.


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