Opinion: “On freedom and privacy this is as good as it gets” – Ken Macdonald QC

31 05 2011

Men in gowns are no match for nerds with wifi connections. But we have the balance about right. Where is the line between privacy and free speech and who should mark it? Lawyers will declaim according to which cow they’re milking, and the views of our media emperors might easily strip their own courtiers of clothes. Read the rest of this entry »

Law and Media Round Up – 30 May 2011

30 05 2011

Wordle: UntitledIn 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.


This was another week of privacy injunction madness – overshadowing some important developments in the phone hacking saga.  Last Monday saw five hearings in privacy actions. Read the rest of this entry »

Capping Libel Damages in Australia: a closer look – Matthew Lewis

29 05 2011

The cap on libel damages in Australia under the uniform Defamation Act of 2005 remains controversial. In this article barrister Matthew Lewis reviews the quantum of damages awarded since the Act came into effect

Since the 2005 Defamation Act came into effect, there have been 23 cases where damages have been awarded for non-economic loss. Click here for a table detailing cases where damages have been awarded or where s.35 of the 2005 Act has been discussed. Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: “A decade later: time to revisit Lord Woolf’s approach to privacy in A v B? Part 2” Niri Shan and Adam Rendle

28 05 2011

In the first part of this series, we considered how the ECHR has expanded the scope of article 8 rights, beyond the “new strength and breadth” which Lord Woolf had predicted in 2002 (in A v B) that the mis-named action for “disclosure of confidential information which would infringe privacy” would have. We will now go on to consider the circumstances in which Lord Woolf felt that there could be a countervailing public interest in disclosure, in fulfilment of article 10 rights and contrast them with the relevant circumstances following Von Hannover. We then also consider to what extent the court’s current approach would ever allow the media to discuss the private lives of celebrities. Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: “Let’s talk about sex” – Adam Wagner

28 05 2011

In 1991 US band Salt-n-Pepa reached number 2 in the UK charts with Let’s Talk About Sex. It is difficult to imagine now, 20 years on, why such an inoffensive and gently educational song generated huge controversy.

That difficulty highlights how much less prudish we are about sex now than we were then. Salt-n-Pepa talked about sex on the “radio and video shows“. Now the song would include Twitter, YouTube and Facebook too. In the post-internet age, sex is everywhere. So why are judges and politicians still making decisions about whose sex the public can or cannot talk about? Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: “A decade later: time to revisit Lord Woolf’s approach to privacy in A v B? Part 1” Niri Shan and Adam Rendle

27 05 2011

Mark Thomson has accused the media of self-interest in their reporting of the mis-named “super-injunctions ” scandal. This criticism is an easy one to make but, putting aside the potential conflict of interest, the media are right to object to the courts’ current approach to privacy cases, even if not for all of the reasons on which they rely. Important issues are raised by the apparent willingness of courts to accept that reasonable expectations of privacy exist and that they outweigh freedom of expression, which we explore in this two-part series. Read the rest of this entry »

“Super-injunctions”, Twitter and Gagging the Press – Mark Thomson

27 05 2011

The smoke is beginning to clear over the “super-injunctions” battlefield. The mainstream media has taken part in – some would say orchestrated – a successful campaign of civil disobedience. Multiple and blatant breaches of the law appear to have gone unpunished. The forces of the evil gaggers have been vanquished with the indispensable assistance of Twitter and John Hemming MP. Twitter usage figures have soared and, presumably, at least a few readers have been buying papers to find out the latest twist and turn of “gag-gate”.
Read the rest of this entry »

Case Law: R (Bryant) v Commissioner of Police: Police may have duty to inform victims of phone hacking – Adam Wagner

26 05 2011

R (on application of Bryant & Ors) v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2011] EWHC 1314 (Admin)

The police may have a duty under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to privacy) to inform members of the public that their phone calls have been intercepted. Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: “Has the value of the public interest test been fatally undermined?” – Martin Moore

25 05 2011

Following Giggs-gate it is not clear how much value there now is in the ‘public interest test’. Is the test still useful in helping courts to decide what should, or should not, remain private? If not, what is the alternative? Read the rest of this entry »

Announcement: Making a Difference? The Social, Economic and Political Impact of Media Research University of East Anglia, Norwich 24 June 2011

25 05 2011
The media@uea initiative brings together the schools of Economics, Film & Television Studies, International Development, Political, Social & International Studies, the UEA Law School and others from across the University of East Anglia.  The first media@uea symposium is taking place in Norwich on 24 June 2011.   Read the rest of this entry »