We begin this week with the US Supreme Court. In its new term – with a new justice, Elena Kagan – and a “docket” which includes a number of cases which give rise to freedom of expression and privacy issues. First in line, due to be heard on 6 October 2010, is the controversial case of Snyder v Phelps. We have previously discussed this case which began after the Westboro Baptist Church organized a protest at the funeral of U.S. Marine Matthew Snyder, who was killed in the line of duty. Continue reading
Last week we had a post listing the top twenty Inforrm blog posts of all time. This enabled newer readers to revisit some of the popular posts from earlier in the year. We have had a lot of hits on these and we thought it might be of interest to provide a further list, setting out some more of the most popular posts – this time numbers 20 to 40 on the Word Press List from our first 8 months. Continue reading
On Monday 27 September 2010, Mrs Justice Sharp handed down an important judgment in a privacy case which had previously been the subject of a so-called “super injunction”. The judgment in the case of DFT v TFD( EWHC 2335 (QB)) concerned a blackmail case in which a woman was threatening to make public private and confidential information concerning a sexual relationship with the claimant unless she was paid very substantial sums. Continue reading
The Court of Appeal decision in Gary Flood v The Times ( EWCA Civ 804) has been portrayed as a blow to the Reynolds defence and to investigative journalism. It is nothing of the sort. The only significant legal development brought about by Flood has been that the Court of Appeal accepted the inevitable – that the Reynolds defence needs to be re-balanced in order to take account of the recognition (arrived at since Reynolds was decided) that a claimant has an Article 8 right to reputation. Continue reading
In this regular feature we draw attention to the last week’s law and media news and next week’s upcoming events. If readers have any news or events which they would like to draw attention to please add them by way of comments on this post.
The leading media law story in the tabloids this week, unusually, concerns a libel action in a foreign jurisdiction. In a front page splash, the News of the World reports “David Beckham’s $25 million vice girl writ”. The claim concerns false allegations made by a Ms Irma Nici and published in “In Touch” magazine – a publication which is not available either in paper form or online in the United Kingdom. Continue reading
A French court has found Google and its chief executive Eric Schmidt liable in defamation over autocomplete “Google Suggest” results. The claimant had been convicted and given a 3 year suspended sentence for corruption of a minor. He then discovered that if his name was entered into a Google search, the website “suggested” his name linked to “rapist”, “Satanist”, “prison” and a number of similar words. He argued that the combination of these words was defamatory, regardless of the content of articles or documents which such searches produced. Continue reading
This post originally appeared on Media Lawyer, the indispensable subscription service from the Press Association covering all aspects of media law. It is reproduced with permission and thanks.
On 23 September 2010 a solicitor who has been the subject of allegedly defamatory postings on a website called Solicitors from Hell won an interim injunction against the man who runs the operation ordering him to remove the allegations from the site. Continue reading
In an extempore judgment delivered on 22 September 2010 by Mr Justice Weatherup in the High Court in Northern Ireland a claim for harassment against the “Sunday World” newspaper by a former loyalist murder suspect was dismissed. However, the claimant was partially successful in his claim for misuse of private information. The judge ordered an assessment of damages for misuse of private information. Continue reading
On 21 September 2009 the Third Section of the Court of Human Rights gave judgment in the libel case of Polanco Torres et Movilla Polanco v Spain. The applicants complained that the failure of their domestic libel action was a breach of the State’s positive obligation to protect their Article 8 rights to reputation. The application was dismissed on basis that the article had the characteristics of a neutral report, it included a denial and the journalist had acted in good faith and discharged the obligation to take sufficient steps to verify the factual statements made. The judgment is available only in French. There is, however, a press release in English. Continue reading
On 6 April 2010 this year, it was announced that Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, had set up a committee to examine the issues around the use of injunctions which bind the press and so-called ‘super-injunctions’. On Monday it was reported in the “Times” that the Committee is devising a template to be used by judges when privacy injunctions are applied for. The story is behind a paywall but is picked up here by the Press Gazette’s “Wire” blog. Continue reading