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.
The two main media legal stories of 2011 – privacy and phone hacking – have continued to dominate this week. The former has received the greatest coverage as a result of the decision of the Court of Human Rights in the Mosley case. We posted a case comment on this and Rosalind English’s survey of the other coverage. We also re-posted a discussion of the case from the always thoughtful Law Think blog.
The “Daily Telegraph” has set out to analyse the privacy injunctions which have been granted, telling readers that there have been 77 orders in six years (or less than 13 a year) with 12 super injunctions. It is said that 11 privacy injunctions were granted by Mr Justice Eady, 10 by Mr Justice Tugendhat and 7 by Mrs Justice Sharp. The analysis of the “Daily Star Sunday” was slightly different. It had a “Super injunction” exclusive purporting to list the publicly known privacy injunctions. It provides a curious list of “50” injunctions (with a certain amount of double counting) – including 18 “true super injunctions” “of which no details can be reported”. We hope shortly to provide – from public sources – a slightly more accurate list.
Meanwhile, the long awaited report of the Neuberger Committee on “Super-injunctions” will be published on Friday 20 May 2011. There will be a Press Conference at 9.45am with the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, and Lord Neuberger.
The phone hacking story returned to Court on Thursday and Friday. On Thursay the Administrative Court reserved judgment in the renewed judicial review permission application by Lord Prescott, Chris Bryant and others against the Metropolitan Police. Mr Justice Vos was considering applications in the claims brought by Kelly Hoppen and Sienna Miller. The latter indicated she would enter judgment against the News of the World after it admitted all her claims. We had a post about both cases by Dominic Crossley. Meanwhile, it is reported that Koo Stark and James Hewitt are bringing phone hacking claims against an unnamed “second newspaper”. The source of story was Mr Max Clifford.
On Tuesday 10 May 2011, Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian gave an important lecture on “The long slow road to libel reform” – also giving his views on privacy and press regulation. We had a report on the lecture by Judith Townend.
On11 May 2011 Mr Rusbridger, the former Times Legal Manager Alastair Brett and Philip Johnston, the Assistant Editor of the Daily Telegraph gave evidence to the Joint Committee on the Defamation Bill. There is a transcript of their evidence. The Guardian has points out that all three expressed concerns about plans to eradicate juries in libel trials.
The Guardian reports the fact that – last minute settlement permitting – next week will see the first libel trial since July 2009 – a case brought by Roman Abramovich against Mirror Group Newspapers Limited over a Daily Mirror article that claimed that Ancelloti had three weeks to save his job. The trial is due to start on Tuesday 17 May 2011 – a record 663 days since the last one. [Update] This case has now settled.
The Meeja law blog’s media law mop up this week is entitled: “Mosley defeat; injunctions by tweet; and Wikileaks gag”
Journalism and the PCC
The PCC’s adjudication against the Daily Telegraph over the approaches to various Lib Dem ministers – including Vince Cable – was widely reported. We had a post by Martin Moore of the Media Standards Trust. The Press Gazette had a piece about the decision. Roy Greenslade pointed out that none of the editors on the PCC were involved in the decision.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
We are not aware of any Statements in Open Court having made in the past week.
In the Courts
We have already mentioned the judgment of the Court of Human Rights in Mosley v United Kingdom. Our case comment is here. We draw attention to the posts about the case on the Strasbourg Observers blog and on the New Zealand Media Law Journal blog.
On Wednesday 11 May 2011 the Court of Appeal (Master of the Rolls, Toulson and EthertonLJJ) heard the case of R (on the application of Gaunt) v OFCOM. Judgment was reserved. Mrs Justice Sharp gave judgment in the “footballer privacy case” of MJN v News Group Newspapers ( EWHC 1192 (QB)). Sara Mansoori did a case comment on this case.
On Thursday 12 May 2011, Mr Justice Foskett heard the renewed application for permission to apply for judicial review by Lord Prescott, Chris Bryant MP and others (R (on the application of Bryant and ors) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis). Most unusually for a permission application, judgment was reserved. The hearing is reported in the Press Gazette.
On the same day, Mr Justice Vos heard applications in the phone hacking cases of Hoppen v NGN and Miller v NGN. In the former he agreed that the case could proceed. In the latter, judgment was entered against News Group Newspapers Limited – with damages of £100,000, an injunction and orders for the disclosure of information. The case was inaccurately reported in a number of newspapers – and the Press Gazette – as a “settlement”.
And also on the same day the Attorney-General obtained permission to bring contempt of court proceedings against the publishers of the Daily Mirror and the Sun over their coverage of the arrest of Mr Chris Jeffries (the subject of a post here). There is a news report in the “Guardian”. Roy Greenslade’s comment is “Better Late than never”. There is also post about this case on the Media Beak blog.
Media and Freedom of Expression Law in Other Jurisdictions
On 9 May 2011, in the case of Allen v Lloyd-Jones, the NSW District Court awarded damages of Aus$65,000 to the mayor of Bega over a malicious letter sent to the media and the NSW premier by a nun. There is a report in the “Bega District News“.
From the Blogs
The RPC Privacy Law blog has a post on “Are privacy injunctions too restrictive?”. It is suggested that
“It is unfortunate that the scope of important new privacy rights is being determined mainly in cases involving emergency applications prepared at short notice where not all parties are even represented, but that is a feature of privacy that is unlikely to change”.
Events and Television
On Wednesday 18 May 2011 the “Joint Committee on the Defamation Bill” will hear evidence from: Sophie Farthing, Policy Officer, Liberty, David Marshall, Senior In-House Lawyer, Which?, Charmian Gooch, Director, Global Witness, Rowan Davies, Campaigns Organiser, Mumsnet; Lord Mackay of Clashfern KT, Former Lord High Chancellor, and Lord Wakeham DL, Former Chairman, Press Complaints Commission
On 17 May 2001 at 10.35pm on BBC1 there is Episode 6 of “See you in Court“. This episode follows a CFA libel claim by Tamil refugee Parameswaran Subramanyam.
Next Week in the Courts
On Monday 16 May 2011 Mr Justice Eady will hear further argument in the privacy injunction case of CTB v News Group Newspapers. [Update] A judgment was handed down in this case today  EWHC 1232 (QB).
On the same day Mr Justice Tugendhat will continue to hear the Pre-Trial Review in the linked “cricket” libel cases of Modi v Clarke and International Management Group (UK) Ltd v Clarke (this is part heard from Friday 13 May 2011).
As already mentioned, on Tuesday 17 May 2011, it appears that there will be a libel jury trial in Abramovich v Mirror Group Newspapers. [Update] This case has now settled.
On Thursday 19 May 2011 there is the return date of an injunction reportedly granted on 13 May 2011 by Mrs Justice Sharp in the case of TSE and ELP v News Group Newspapers.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:
El Diwany v Ministry of Justice & the Police, Norway, heard 16 March 2011 (Sharp J).
R (on the application of Gaunt) v OFCOM, heard 11 May 2011 (Master of the Rolls, Toulson and Etherton LJJ).
R (on the application of Bryant and ors) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis), heard 12 May 2011 (Foskett J).