An action challenging the compatibility of the directive with the European Convention of Human Rights and the constitutionality of the implementing legislation in national law has been launched by Digital Rights Ireland, a body dedicated to preserving human and civil rights in the digital age. The claim has been brought against several government departments and the Irish state in the Irish High Court. Copies of the originating process, statement of claim and acknowledgement of service appear on Digital Rights' solicitors' website. The claimant appears to have made a pretty good start as a notice of motion for judgment in default of defence returnable on 17 Feb 2007 and evidence in support also appears on its solicitors' site (see the post for 15 Jan 2007) in the January archive).
The remarkable thing about this case is that it is one of the first attempts in Europe by a campaigning group to use the courts to challenge legislation affecting digital rights on constitutional and Convention grounds. As Ms Hogge puts it:
In that respect Digital Rights Ireland and perhaps others will follow the lead of the Electronic Frontier Foundation with its long list of victories in the US courts. Although it is not very fashionable to say so, we owe much of our liberty to the Irish as well as the Americans.
"Until now, European digital rights activists, if they are to get their voices heard, have had to be content with the more mundane pursuits of lobbying their elected representatives and informing and educating the national press."