This is a Media Law Update covering the past month prepared by the Legal Information Team at Matrix Chambers, which they have kindly agreed to make available to readers of Inforrm.

Latest Cases

Tchenguiz & Ors v Imerman [2010] EWCA Civ 908. Interlocutory appeal and cross-appeal in ancillary relief proceedings relating to Hildebrand admissibility rules. Held: there was no legal justification for permitting a spouse to retain copies of documents unlawfully obtained in breach of confidence in order to prevent the other spouse from concealing assets in ancillary relief proceedings. A spouse could apply for search and seizure, freezing, preservation and similar orders to ensure that assets were not wrongly concealed or dissipated.

Statements in Open Court

Underhill v Watson, – 29 July 2010 . A claimant agreed to withdraw libel proceedings brought against the editor of a magazine who had written allegedly defamatory articles about him on the basis that the defendant had agreed to withdraw his defences, pay him damages and costs.

Stamp v Cottrell – 29 July 2010. Defendant had published allegations by way of an e-mail circular which repeated claims made in a business proposal alleging that there was evidence that the Claimant had defrauded clients who had invested in a portfolio of Traded Endowment Policy products. There was no basis for the allegations and the defendant accepted that he should not have published the allegations, agreed to apologise and not repeat them.

Reza Pankhurst v Evening Standard – 28 July 2010,  Defendant published an article in its newspaper and on its website that wrongly suggested that claimant was involved in a criminal conspiracy involving the training, preparation and encouragement of a person who attempted a suicide bombing in Israel. In fact, the allegations were entirely false.  The claimant had never groomed anybody to carry out an act of terrorism and was committed to furthering the cause of Muslims in an exclusively non-violent way.  The defendant apologised for publishing the false and defamatory allegations and published an apology in its newspaper, having agreed to pay substantial damages and legal costs.

Latest Regulatory Decisions

Latest decision of the Scottish Information Commissioner:

Decision Notices from the Information Commissioner’s Office

Latest decisions of the First-tier Tribunal, General Regulatory Chamber [Information Rights]

Recent Developments

BBC challenge gets Sheridan case restrictions eased, PA Media Lawyer, Press Gazette – 18 Aug 2010. Reports that a restriction banning almost all reporting of the preliminary hearings in the perjury case against former Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan and his wife Gail was made significantly less restrictive after an application by the BBC.

Advertising Standards Authority bans animal charity ad, BBC News – 18 Aug 2010. An advert for an animal charity working in Afghanistan has been banned by the ASA. It ruled the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad’s advert was “likely to mislead” for suggesting donations ultimately benefited British troops.

Coalition plans bill to tackle ‘judge-made privacy law’, Dominic Ponsford, Press Gazette – 17 Aug 2010, Reports that Justice minister Lord McNally has revealed plans from the Coalition Government to introduce the UK’s first explicit privacy law. The Liberal Democrat peer told The Daily Telegraph: “There has been a general consensus that a new piece of legislation that clarifies, consolidates and removes some of the more dangerous aspects of the way case law has grown up is something that is desirable.”

DA-Notice chair: I would have kept Wikileaks confidence, Dominic Ponsford,  Press Gazette – 9 Aug 2010. Notes that The chairman of the DA Notice committee has insisted The Guardian could have sought his advice in advance of publication of the Wikileaks Afghanistan documents without risking a tip-off to the Ministry of Defence. The DA Notice committee works with the media under a voluntary system to ensure nothing is published which could endanger the lives of British servicemen.

Sunday Times faces £150,000-plus payout over Jimi Hendrix CD, Josh Halliday, The Guardian – 6 Aug 2010. Times Newspapers has lost a high court copyright infringement case over a CD given away with the Sunday Times. Two companies associated with the Hendrix estate asserted Times Newspapers had not obtained proper copyright clearance, and pursued damages for lost earnings.

Articles and Discussion

Information overload” Seamus Smyth (Carter Lemon Camerons LLP) Solicitors Journal S.J. (2010) Vol.154 No.32 pg.16.  Considers the potential obligations of solicitors under the DPA 1998. Explains the guidance given in Durant v Financial Services Authority (Disclosure) [2003] EWCA Civ 1746. Considers who may make a request for information under the Act, whether a request can be refused, the fee, the time allowed for dealing with a request, and what information has to be provided to the data subject.

“Dissecting personal data – Bryce v Information Commissioner” – Anya Proops, Panopticon Blog, 18 August 2010.  Considers FOIA s.40 in the light of the recent case of Bryce v IC & Cambridgeshire Constabulary (EA/2009/0083)

“Unhelpful presentation of redacted material could breach FOI Act 2000, ss 1 & 16”, Robin Hopkins, Panopticon Blog – 10 Aug 2010.  Notes the Information Tribunal’s recent decision in Gradwick v IC and the Cabinet Office EA/2010/0030, which dealt with FOI Act 2000, ss 23 and 24. Argues that its concluding dicta also dealt with some procedural matters with potentially substantive implications, particularly concerning redacted material.

“Watching live sport on television: a human right? The right to information and the list of major events regime“, Katrien Lefever, Hannes Cannie & Peggy Valcke, E.H.R.L.R. (2010) No.4 pgs.396-407.  Discusses whether a human right to watch live sport on television could be established under the ECHR, art10 right to freedom and information in protection of the public’s free, direct access to major sporting events.