Case Law: OPQ v BJM – a privacy injunction “contra mundum”

23 04 2011

The case of OPQ v BJM ([2011] EWHC 1059 (QB)) addresses one of the most difficult practical issues in privacy law and adopts a novel solution.  Eady J granted a “contra mundum” injunction – that is, one binding on the whole world – in an ordinary “blackmail” privacy case.   This means that, although a “final judgment” will be entered, the injunction continues to bind the press and other third parties.  The case has attracted considerable media criticism, for example in the “Daily Mail” which, in a front page story tells its readers: “TV Star’s Shame Hushed up for EverRead the rest of this entry »

Opinion: “Picking on privacy” – Dominic Crossley

22 04 2011

There is something surreal about the fact that recent attempts to assert privacy rights should occupy the front page of the Daily Mail for two days in a row. There should be nothing to report, and it is exactly this that the Mail thinks their readers should know about. The Times makes the point in its page 3 by littering its piece with thick black redactions, imploring its readers to share in its frustration that the names behind the ink cannot be revealed. It is an effective trick.
Read the rest of this entry »

How the media told the phone hacking story, Part 1 – Judith Townend

21 04 2011

The Guardian has its own comprehensive archive on phone hacking with over 600 stories but how else has the British national media covered the story from 2006-11?

Searches were conducted on news databases using the terms “phone hacking” or “phone tapping” or “voicemail interception” and “News of the World”. Read the rest of this entry »

Case Law: ETK v News Group Newspapers “Privacy Injunctions and Children” – Edward Craven

19 04 2011

The Court of Appeal today gave judgment in the case of ETK v News Group Newspapers Ltd ([2011] EWCA Civ 439). In a decision that may provoke criticism from sections of the media, the Court granted an interim injunction preventing the defendant from publishing details about the claimant’s sexual affair with a colleague in the entertainment industry. However the decision is of particular importance for its analysis of the role of children’s rights in applications for privacy injunctions.  Read the rest of this entry »

Case Law: Citizen 1978 Ltd v McBride – South African Constitutional Court takes off the muzzle – Dario Milo

19 04 2011

Last week, in the case of The Citizen 1978 Ltd v McBride ([2011] ZACC 11) the South African Constitutional Court handed down a ground-breaking decision in the defamation case brought by Robert McBride, the former Ekurhuleni metro police chief, against The Citizen newspaper, who had called McBride a criminal and a murderer. The decision gives much-needed breathing space to the media, allowing more robust criticism of public figures.  Read the rest of this entry »

Law and Media Round Up – 18 April 2011

18 04 2011

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.


We begin, this week, with privacy injunctions.   There were two involving the media in the past week.  The first, NEJ v Helen Wood, was as the Press Gazette reports, granted on  9 April 2011 by Mr Justice Blake with the defendant then anonymised as “BDZ”.   Read the rest of this entry »

Clift v Slough Borough Council – Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal

17 04 2011

The Supreme Court has refused the defendant permission to appeal in the important qualified privilege case of Clift v Slough Borough Council ([2010] EWCA Civ 1484).   This means that the jury’s verdict of damages of £12,000 in favour of Ms Clift stands and the correctness of the analysis of the Court of Appeal as to the impact of Article 8 on the law of qualified privilege is confirmed.   The background and effect of the case was analysed in our case comment in January 2011 by Lorna Skinner and Eddie Craven. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Cyberstalking on Facebook in Australia – Catherine Lee

17 04 2011

Mr Cox and Ms Grierson

The Melbourne Magistrates Court was, last week, the scene of an interesting the Facebook cyberstalking case between two academics with an interesting and unexpected conclusion.  It is the subject of an article in the “Sydney Morning Herald” under the headline “Art School altercation puts new spin on cyberstalkingRead the rest of this entry »

News: Mr Justice Vos recommends four phone hacking test cases and trial at end of year – Judith Townend

16 04 2011

The phone hacking cases must proceed without delay, Mr Justice Vos told lawyers acting for 20 claimants at a High Court case management conference on Friday 15 April 2011.

I am extremely unattracted to the idea of putting back the determination of these civil cases pending criminal proceedings which have not yet even resulted in charges,” he told lawyers and reporters at the court – some sitting on the floor because the courtroom was so full. Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: “Civil claims and police investigation may not lead to truth and reconciliation in phone hacking” – Judith Townend

15 04 2011

Cast your mind back to the Guardian’s phone hacking scoop on 8 July 2009. It marked Part II of the British phone hacking saga and re-opened an enormous can of worms in Wapping (Part I, as readers of Inforrm will be aware, had seen private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and journalist Clive Goodman jailed for illegally intercepting voicemail messages). Read the rest of this entry »