Online hate and the contentious case of stirring up hatred offences

Editores: Iñigo Gordon Benito


In 2016, as requested, the UK Government submitted written evidence to the Home Affairs Committee's inquiry into hate crime and its consequences. Among all the offences listed as part of what was called a robust legal framework to combat online hate, there was one set of offences surprisingly missing. The stirring up hatred offences (ss. 18-23 and 29B-29G of the Public Order Act 1986), at least comparable to those envisaged in Article 510 of the Spanish Criminal Code (that is, punishable hate speech), were laid incomprehensibly out of play. Hence, this research study first aims to determine whether this decision is understandable. Then, we will focus on some legal hotspots concerning those offences to visualise better how they operate in practice. Finally, by way of conclusion, a comparative endeavour will be made with the Spanish legal system, bringing to the forefront the conflict points already dealt with.

Paper published in OSLS: