Law and Media Round Up – 4 October 2010 [updated]

4 10 2010

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.

News

Privacy injunctions have, once again, been in the news this week.  Despite copious press references to “super-injunctions” these fabled creatures remain thin on the ground.  We have already posted on Mrs Justice Sharp’s important judgment in DFT v TFD – available on Bailii [2010] EWHC 2335 (QB). This decision, refusing to continue, a “super-injunction” but granting a wide order restraining the publication of information not in the public judgment was picked up in the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph.

A few days later the Daily Mail ran a story under the headline “TV celebrity wins court order gagging his ex-wife over claims he cheated”.  Bearing in mind the fact that this injunction was reported it can be assumed that it was not “super” in its effect.  A similar approach appears to have been taken in Northern Ireland where Mr Justice Gillen granted the singer Van Morrison an injunction to restrain the publication of private information in the “News of the World” but refused a “super-injunction”.  We dealt with this in an earlier post.

In a post on the “Lay Scientist” blog Richard Wilson explains explains his seven-month battle to get the Daily Mail to correct an article – ‘The Great Asbestos Hysteria’ – by Christopher Booker.   He was not impressed by the PCC

I began to see why so many people have given up on the PCC. If a newspaper digs in its heels and simply denies all the evidence that’s been presented, there doesn’t seem to be much that the PCC can do except bat the issue back to the complainant.

Tabloid Watch has a post about the story.

It has been reported that Sally Bercow, the political commentator and wife of the Commons speaker, has been threatened with libel action by Sir Andrew Green, the chair of rightwing think tank Migration Watch over a Sky News newspaper review. The story is also reported in the Guardian.  Jack of Kent has a post on the case – author David Allen Green’s firm has been instructed by Ms Bercow.

The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has threatened a libel claim against the Daily Telegraph after it alleged a US$25m donation was made to his AK Parti after he negotiated with Iran.  He is being represented by Carter-Ruck whose press release can be found here. The story is reported in the Press Gazette.

Writing in the New Law Journal Jon Robins argues that libel lawyers might take a more nuanced view than some press commentators of the news that Mr Justice Eady is to be replaced as the judge responsible for the Jury List.

We mentioned in the course of our report of an event at Tate Modern that hearing date in the important and interesting case of Max Mosley v United Kingdom has now been set for 11 January 2010.  Our various posts on this case can be found on our Table of Forthcoming Cases“.  Details of the Mosley hearing can be found on the Court of Human Rights Calendar of Hearings.  The Court of Human Rights also has a press release concerning the Grand Chamber Hearings in Von Hannover v Germany and Axel Springer v Germany, listed for 13 October 2010.

In the Courts

A Strasbourg application by composer Keith Burstein has been dismissed as inadmissible.  The application was made after the Evening Standard was granted summary judgment on a claim brought by Mr Burstein over a review of his opera ‘Manifest Destiny’, which he claimed meant that he sympathised with terrorists.  The Court of Appeal held that no reasonable jury could treat the review as containing statements of facts (Burstein v Associated Newspapers[2007] EWCA Civ 600).

Media and Freedom of Expression Law in Other Jurisdictions

The Times of Malta reported the hearing on Monday and Tuesday a remarkable criminal defamation action where the complainant is Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera and the defendant columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia.  The case relates to a series of blog entries.   The defendant has a column about the case here.

The Japanese High Court has upheld an award of damages of ¥8.47 million (£64,000) to a sumo stablemaster, Takanohana, and his wife in a defamation action against publishers Kondasha Ltd.  The claims concerned articles published in 2004 and 2005 about sumo wrestling match-fixing scandals and family troubles related to inheritance from Takanohana’s father, the late sumo elder Futagoyama.  The story is reported in Japan Today.

US Law and Media News

Once again, this will be the subject of a separate post.

Events

No events have been reported to us for next week.

Next Week in the Courts

Judgment in the case of BBC v HarperCollins, heard in private 31 August and 1 September 2010 by Mr Justice Morgan will be given in open court on 4 October 2010.

The libel jury trial of Andre v Price is due to begin in the High Court on Thursday 7 October 2010.  Singer Peter Andre brings the claim against his ex-wife Katie Price (aka Jordan) in what the News of the World expected to be a “bitter courtroom battle”.  The case was front page news last Sunday, with the article helpfully reproducing the claim form and with profiles of the parties’ solicitors Gordon Williams of Lee & Thompson and Keith Ashby of Sheridans.  Unfortunately, the story can no longer be accessed on the “News of the World” website, presumably because of concerns about the position of the jury.

Reserved Judgments

The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:

Clift v Slough BC heard 23 and 24 June 2010 (Ward, Thomas and Richards LJJ).

Hamptons International Dubai LLC & anr v Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors heard 23 July 2010 (Eady J)

Spiller v Joseph heard 26 and 27 July 2010 (Lords Phillips, Rodger, Walker and Brown and Sir John Dyson)


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4 10 2010
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