This is a Media Law Update covering the last week prepared by the Legal Information Team at Matrix Chambers, which they have kindly agreed to make available to readers of Inforrm.
Petrov v Bulgaria (App No. 27103/04). ECtHR – 23 Nov 2010. Admissibility decision – relying on ECHR, arts 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial), 8 (right to private life), 10 (freedom of expression and information), 13 (right to an effective remedy) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination), the applicant made various complaints about the rejection of his criminal complaints by the national courts and about ES’ acquittals in the criminal proceedings for defamation against him (ES is a former member of Parliament known for his publications about crimes allegedly committed by high-ranking officials) – inadmissible. For press release, see here.
Lykiardopulo v Lykiardopulo & Anor  EWCA Civ 1315 . – 19 Nov 2010. The appellant former wife appealed against a decision that a judgment in ancillary relief proceedings should be reported after anonymisation. The judge found that the former husband, his brother and another influential family member had conspired to manufacture, for the purposes of the proceedings, documents to show that the former husband had terminated his involvement with the family business and divested himself of his interest therein. Held: inter alia, the judge erred in placing unwarranted weight on the risk of future harm to the family’s business if the family’s perjury in the proceedings was published. Exercising the discretion afresh, there should be a public judgment. The judgment should be redacted to protect the privacy of the former husband and the family wherever that protection could be given without reducing or veiling the scale of their litigation misconduct
Phillips v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd & Ors  EWHC 2952 (Ch) – 17 Nov 2010. The claimant sought disclosure of documents under the CPR 1998, SI 1998/3132, r 31.17 for the purposes of a damages claim brought against the first defendant newspaper in relation to the hacking of her mobile phone. The claimant had been assistant to a well known publicist. The defendant had settled an action brought by her principal for hacking his mobile telephone, in the course of which it appeared that the claimant’s phone had also been hacked. Held: The claimant was entitled to the information. Orders were made for production of the documents subject to the protection of third parties. The Senior Courts Act 1981, s 72 prevented the defendants from invoking the privilege against self-incrimination.
Ernst & Young LLP & Ors v Coomber & Anor; Coomber & Ors v Ernst & Young LLP  EWHC 2837 (QB) – 8 Nov 2010. The claimants in a libel action applied for summary judgment and for relief under the Defamation Act 1996, ss 8, 9. Held, inter alia: none of the factors in s 8(4) of the 1996 Act stood in the way of the libel claimants obtaining the relief they sought. Further, there was no justification for proceeding to a full trial: there was no realistic prospect of a defence of justification, or any other defence, succeeding at trial. The gravity of the allegations and the scale of publication would merit an award greater than £10,000 for each of the second to sixth claimants, so that, being the statutory cap, was the appropriate figure for each of them. Although the first defendant had indicated that he did not intend to pursue a conspiracy claim for the time being, there remained the strong possibility that he would seek to revive it at some point in the future. Therefore it was right to grant summary judgment for the claimant accountancy firm and the second and third defendants to that claim. It was also appropriate to make an extended civil restraint order in accordance with CPR 1998, SI 1998/3132, r 3.11 and CPR PD 3C : the conspiracy claim was totally without merit, as were a number of applications made by the first defendant in the libel claim.
Henderson v London Borough of Hackney & Ors UKEAT/0072/09/JOJ. EAT – 13 July 2010. The claimant was employed as a mentor for girls in an inner city school. From her school computer she accessed pornography and distributed it to colleagues. She was summarily dismissed. Held: ECHR, Article 10 was engaged but the employer had justified the dismissal as proportionate and as pursuing a legitimate aim in protecting children. It would have been difficult in the light of the exchange of pornographic material and the employee’s continued attitude to it, for the employer not to have lost trust in her. That was an act of gross misconduct committed over a period of time involving colleagues, with the risk that the vulnerable children in the care of the employee might have come by it. The judgment as to what was appropriate for girls of 11 to 16 to see while at school by way of sexually explicit material was one for the employer. It took the view that they should not see such material on computers at school.
Latest Regulatory Decisions
Latest decisions of the First-tier Tribunal, General Regulatory Chamber [Information Rights]
- David Cox v IC EA/2010/0092. FIO Act 2000, s 40(2) (personal data).
- Alison Ince v IC EA/2010/0089. FIO Act 2000, s 40 (personal data):
- British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection v IC EA/2010/0064. FIO Act 2000, s 44(1)(a) (whether disclosure prohibited by Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, s 24(1)).
Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 170 (22.11.10). This contains decisions on a number of standards cases, one fairness case. There are decisions in privacy cases.
Press Complaints Commission
Various v The Guardian , Press Complaints Commission Decision – 17 Nov 2010. Complaints alleging breach of clauses 1 (accuracy), 5 (intrusion into grief or shock) and 12 (discrimination) of the Code of Practice. Complainants were concerned that the comparison drawn between the cut to housing benefits and the Final Solution was both inaccurate and highly offensive. For press release, see here.
Anthony Talbot v Swindon Advertiser. Adjudication 25 November 2010. Mr Anthony Talbot complained to the Press Complaints Commission that a front-page article headlined “Junior school head guilty of raping child” when in fact he had been convicted of indecent assault not rape. Decision – sufficient remedial action offered.
A woman v Daily Mirror. Adjudication– 19 Nov 2010. Complaint alleging breach of clauses 3 (accuracy) and 14 (confidential information) of the Code of Practice. Decision – sufficient remedial action offered.
Richard E North v Sunday Times, Adjudication 26 November 2010. Dr Richard A E North complained to the Press Complaints Commission that a correction published in The Sunday Times on 20 June 2010, headlined “The Sunday Times and the IPCC: Correction”, was inaccurate and misleading in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. Not upheld.
Richard E North v Guardian (on line) Adjudication 26 November 2010. Dr Richard A E North complained to the Press Complaints Commission that a blog post published on guardian.co.uk, headlined “Sunday Times admits ‘Amazongate’ story was rubbish. But who’s to blame?”, was inaccurate and misleading in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
Google’s wi-fi data to be deleted, BBC News – 19 Nov 2010. Notes that the UK’s information commissioner has said that wi-fi data accidentally collected by Google’s Street View cars will be deleted within the next nine months.
Articles and Discussion
Application of the first data protection principle , Edward Capewell Panopticon Blog – 19 Nov 2010, Discusses Ince v Information Commissioner EA/2010/0089 on whether the disclosure of information might breach the first data protection principle.