This is a Media Law Update covering the fortnight prepared by the Legal Information Team at Matrix Chambers, which they have kindly agreed to make available to readers of Inforrm.
BBC v HarperCollins Publishers Ltd & Ors  EWHC 2424 (Ch) – 4 Oct 2010. The BBC sought an interim injunction to prevent the publication of an autobiography of The Stig, on the basis that the driver owed it duties not to disclose confidential information – including that he was The Stig. Held: the driver owed an equitable duty of confidentiality, since he understood when he took on the role that the identity of The Stig was confidential to himself and the BBC. However, statements in the press that the named driver was The Stig would have been understood by the public as statements of fact. For all practical purposes, anyone who had an interest in knowing the driver’s identity knew it. By 29 Aug 2010, at the latest, the fact that the driver’s identity was so generally accessible that that information had lost its confidential character. No injunction would be granted.
AMM v HXW  EWHC 2457 (QB) – 7 Oct 2010. The claimant, a married TV star was granted an injunction against his ex-wife to prevent publication of a number of claims about the couple’s private life. An anonymity order was granted, with legal proceedings being heard in private. Publicity about the hearings would have defeated the purpose of the action. There was credible and uncontradicted evidence that publication of information by the ex-wife would be highly damaging to the claimant’s private life and to that of others, and damages would not be an adequate remedy.
Latest Regulatory Decisions
Latest decisions of the First-tier Tribunal, General Regulatory Chamber [Information Rights]
- EY v IC EA/2010/0055. FIO Act 2000, s 41 (confidential information).
- Bath and North East Somerset Council v IC EA/2010/0045. Environmental Information Regulations 2004, r 12(5)(e) (confidential information).
Adjudication – Ms Rosie Nicol-Harper v Southern Daily Echo , PCC Decision Notice – 30 Sep 2010. Complaint alleging breach of clause 5 (intrusion into shock or grief) of the Code of Practice.
Standard opera libel case appeal rejected by Euro Court, PA Media Lawyer, Press Gazette – 6 Oct 2010. Notes that the ECtHR has rejected an application by composer Keith Burstein over the Court of Appeal’s decision not to allow him a jury trial in his libel battle with the Evening Standard. The application was declared inadmissible on 7 Sep 2010 by Judge Giovanni Bonello, the Court’s Maltese judge, under the single judge procedure introduced in Protocol 14 to the ECHR.
Digital Agenda: EU Commission refers UK to ECJ over privacy and personal data protection. James Goudie QC, Panopticon Blog – 4 Oct 2010. Discusses the Commission decision (IP/10/1215) to refer the UK to the CJEU for not fully implementing EU rules on the confidentiality of electronic communications such as e-mail or internet browsing. Specifically, the Commission considers that UK law does not comply with EU rules on consent to interception and on enforcement by supervisory authorities.
Tribunal orders disclosure of 1986 ‘Westland Helicopter’ cabinet minutes, Robin Hopkins, Panopticon Blog –1 Oct 2010, Discusses the decision in Cabinet Office v ICO EA/2010/ 0031, where the Information Tribunal has ordered disclosure of the cabinet’s meeting on 9 Jan 1986, in which Michael Heseltine resigned over the Westland Helicopter decision.
New family court reporting legislation ‘potential overkill’, PA Media Lawyer. Press Gazette – 1 Oct 2010. The provisions detailed in the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010, Pt II passed in the wash-up period before the General Election have yet to be brought into force, however they brought a stern warning from Judge Patrick Moloney at the IBC-Reed Smith Protecting the Media conference that they are potential overkill.
Discussion on future of data protection law. Ministry of Justice. Press Release – 30 Sep 2010. Reminder about the Call for Evidence about the future of data protection laws.
Digital Agenda: Commission refers UK to Court over privacy and personal data protection Commission , Press Release – 30 Sep 2010. Notes that the European Commission has decided to refer the UK to the CJEU for not fully implementing EU rules on the confidentiality of electronic communications such as e-mail or internet browsing. Specifically, the Commission considers that UK law does not comply with EU rules on consent to interception and on enforcement by supervisory authorities.
Articles and Discussion
All change?, Jon Robins, New Law Journal N.L.J. (2010) Vol.160 No.7435 pg.1321. Reflects on the news that Eady J is to be replaced as the judge responsible for the jury lists that hear most of the major privacy and defamation cases in the Queen’s Bench. Discusses the media’s criticism of the judge, including Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre’s attack prompted by the case brought by Formula One boss Max Mosley against the News of the World. Considers whether his replacement will improve the relationship between the judiciary and the press.
No privilege for in-house counsel, Counsel (2010) Oct pg.6 Comments on the decision in Akzo Nobel Chemicals Ltd v Commission (C-550/07 P) which ruled that internal communications by in-house lawyers were not protected by legal professional privilege in EU competition law investigations. Sets out the concerns of leading members of the UK legal profession.