We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

As I pointed out two decades ago, the Serious Fraud Office’s primary weapons, common law conspiracy to defraud, and the second limb of false accounting, if construed as the courts appear to understand them and universally applied would make all commerce impossible. It is an early example of the modern trend in antijurisprudence whereby everything is illegal just in case and ‘the proper authorities’ are trusted to pick on Bad People.

– Guy Herbert

8 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    I remember reading about your antitrust laws, and how anything big business did could be attacked under some definition or other. Now it’s the turn of small businesses, which seems only fair.

  • Jamesg

    One of the greatest mysteries to me is how anyone is able to start a profitable business.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    In Australia, we have this quiz. Do you want to know how to end up with a small fortune?
    Start with a large one!

  • “… universally applied would make all commerce impossible”

    Would make modern government impossible if self-applied, but that will be the last holdout against universal application. That ‘false accounting’ was built into national insurance from the start is pretty well known; “conspiracy to defraud” charges against Jeremy Corbyn and his friends are less urgent than “aiding terrorism” charges – and no more likely to be brought. 🙂

    How far the OP quote is true that all commerce could be caught in the net I do not know, but if government did not exempt itself it would matter little, as all available court resources would be needed to deal with that backlog.

  • Paul Marks

    When “too many” fraud prosecutions “ended in failure” the government (the permanent government – the Civil Service, academia….) did not conclude than many innocent people were being falsely charged – the authorities assumed that the law (or the understanding of it) must be broadened so that more people were convicted.

    When a friend of mine, who now lives in Northern Ireland, was charged with fraud – everyone, including his own lawyer, just wanted to talk to him in “if you plead guilty you will get a reduced sentence” terms, the fact that he was INNOCENT seemed to interest no one. It was only when a expenses form was shown to not even to be in his handwriting that the case against him collapsed.

    Think about that – an obvious crime had-indeed-been-committed, the crime of “Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice”, because someone forged that document and more than one person clearly knew (from the start) that it was forged (it was not even a good forgery – a child could have seen it was forged) and proceeded with it as the basis of the prosecution. Yet the authorities were totally uninterested in the real crime – they were just upset that another fraud trial “had ended in failure”, not that an innocent man had been driven to the point of a mental breakdown (yes my friend had a breakdown).

    No doubt the next “reform” will be to declare that blatantly forged documents may be presented as evidence and that no one is allowed to challenge them.

    Already no INTENT to defraud needs to be proven (throwing the Common Law “guilty mind” principle out of the widow – as modern university people do not believe in Free Will, the principle that the Common Law was based upon) so why not allow forged documents as “evidence” as well?

  • Derek Buxton

    It would often seem that Justice has been thrown away for some time now. I often wonder how so many firms are allowed to talk people into claiming PPI compensation. It seems that there are far too many claims to be coincidence. I was concerned from when I read of the so called “Libor” scandal, so I read what it was and how it worked. It appeared to be a system that should have been foolproof, 16 Bankers on each Committee, from different banks to decide on an interest rate, and all colluded ? I wondered just how much evidence there was for this, or even if there was any?

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Buxrton – the collusion was coordinated by the Bank of England.

    So one branch of the government tells you to do something, and another branch of the government prosecutes you for doing it. Even the first branch of government would have destroyed you if you had not followed their “guidance”.

    Welcome to the modern world.

    There may be justice in Liechtenstein, which still has Montesquieu’s principle of the division of powers (a balanced constitution – if the elected government persecutes you, you can appeal to the Prince, and if the Price persecutes you, you can appeal to the elected government – they act as checks upon each other, and both have real power over the bureaucracy), but in Britain?

    There is some justice here (it is not utterly depraved and corrupted), but things are far from well here.

    And, credit to an old enemy of mine, Dr Sean Gabb is one of the best writers on the corruption of the principles of the law on this island.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    [Seen on the internet, and very much not original to me.]

    Three businessmen were in prison and compared notes on their crimes in the exercise yard.

    The first explained: “I was sent to jail because I charged higher prices than everyone else, so they charged me with price-gouging.”

    The second said: “I charged lower prices than everyone else, so they convicted me of predatory pricing.”

    Then the third guy said: “I charged the same thing as everyone else, so they imprisoned me for price fixing.”