The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Month: April 2010 (Page 1 of 4)

Revisited: Opinion: “Privacy – the way ahead? Part 3 – Options for the Future”

In this feature we revisit some older posts which may still be of current interest.  This was first posted on 26 February 2010 and is the last of a three part post in which Hugh Tomlinson QC considers the future of the law of privacy in the UK.  In this Part he looks at the options for the future.

INTRODUCTION

There appear to be are at least four possible “ways forward” for the new law of privacy which, as I discussed in the first post in this series has been developed by the courts over the past decade and which has, at least from the point of view of sections of the media, been very controversial.  Continue reading

Lectures: Lord Neuberger on the balance between privacy and freedom of expression

In a lecture  given last night to the Eton College Law Society – in the “Election Hall” – the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger dealt with the topic of “Privacy and Freedom of Expression: A Delicate Balance”.   The topic is one which is central to our concerns at Inforrm and this lecture is a very good opportunity to look at the approach of the most senior civil judge in England and Wales to this topic.

Lord Neuberger begins by pointing out the vital role of a free press in ensuring that “hidden truth is brought to light” and those in authority are held to account ([3]).   Continue reading

Revisited: Opinion: “Privacy – the way ahead? Part 2 – Background to the New Law”

In this feature we revisit some older posts which may still be of current interest.  This was first posted on 24 February 2010. It is the second part of three part post in which Hugh Tomlinson QC considers the future of the law of privacy.  In this Part he looks at the background to the new law of privacy

INTRODUCTION

The “new law of privacy” has not been uncontroversial.  With characteristic restraint the commentator Melanie Phillips has described the process in these terms:

“Driven by a deep loathing of the popular press, the judges have long been itching to bring in a privacy law by the back door. Thus free speech is to be made conditional on the prejudices of the judiciary …” (Melanie Phillips, “The law of human wrongs”, Daily Mail, 6 December 2006

Continue reading

CFA Consultation – Judicial Responses

We have blogged, on a number of occasions, on the last Government’s proposed CFA Amendment Order which was finally dropped on 6 April 2010 after the General Election was called.   It seems likely that the measure will be revived, in some form, by the next government – as there seems to be broad agreement that a 100% success fee is not appropriate in libel cases and that present CFA regime requires some reform.  There is, of course, no agreement between claimant and defendant lawyers as to the appropriate level of success fees and in relation to other proposed reforms. Continue reading

Revisited: Opinion: “Privacy – the way ahead? Part 1 – The New Law of Privacy”

In this feature we revisit some older posts which may still be of current interest.  This was first posted on 23 February 2010 and is the first part of a three part post in which Hugh Tomlinson QC considers the future of the law of privacy.  In this part he looks at the new law as it has been developed over the past decade.

INTRODUCTION

The “new law of privacy” has been developed by the English Courts over the past decade. It is a common law development based on case law going back to the mid nineteenth century.  But the pace of development has recently accelerated. The decisive factor has been the Human Rights Act 1998. In this area the Act has had “horizontal effect” – it operates in cases between two private parties.  The action for breach of confidence has been transformed – almost beyond recognition. Continue reading

Access to Documents in Criminal Cases: the Tesler decision [updated]

An application by Guardian News & Media for access to documents referred to in open court in an extradition case has been unsuccessful. As reported by the Guardian on 25 March 2010, it made an application to District Judge Tubbs for copies of these documents.  However, in a ruling of 20 April 2010 the District Judge dismissed this application, refusing access to the documents.

Continue reading

US Supreme Court: United States v Stevens – restrictions on depictions of animal cruelty held unconstitutional

The decision handed down last week by the United States Supreme Court in United States v Stevens shows the radically different approach taken in the United States in relation questions of “extreme” and “offensive” freedom of expression.  The case concerned whether a federal law which prohibited depictions of animal cruelty was unconstitutional having regard to the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Continue reading

Social Media Use – A “Counter”

The Law Librarian Blog draws attention to a remarkable “Counter” for Social Media use, devised by Gary Hayes and showing the amount of social media activity taking place at any given moment.  The Counter can be found at the bottom of this post.   There are tabs along the top of the graphic providing figures for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly social media use.  The Counter shows the extraordinary levels of activities on blogs, You Tube, Facebook and Twitter.  Continue reading

Revisited: Freedom of Expression, Pornography and the Literary Heritage

In this feature we revisit some older posts which may still be of current interest.  This was first posted on 27 February 2010

In an interesting potentially important freedom of expression judgment the Court of Human Rights has held that, when a literary work becomes part of the “European cultural heritage” it will be a violation of Article 10 to ban its publication, however offensive it is to local sensibilities.  The case is the subject of a posting on the extremely useful ECHR blog here. Continue reading

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