Max Mosley has asked the Court of Human Rights to refer his case to the Grand Chamber.   On 10 May 2011, the Fourth Section of the Court rejected his arguments in favour of a pre-notification requirement in privacy cases (see our Case Comment).  Mr Mosley’s solicitors, Collyer Bristow, have today announced that a request has been made under Rule 73 for a reference to the Grand Chamber.

The request is supported by a 13 page Written Submission.  In this, Lord Pannick QC on behalf of Mr Mosley argues that the serious issue of general importance that arises is whether

“in cases where a newspaper, or other publisher, intends to disclose “intimate or sexual details of private life” … the newspaper or other publisher should be required to give advance notice of the publication so that the individual concerned can seek an injunction from the court to prevent publication in breach of Article 8” [9].

It is argued that the application gives rise to issues of very considerable general importance,

especially in the United Kingdom where certain sections of the press, such as The News of the World, trade in the disclosure of intimate or sexual secrets of people’s private lives [12].

Mr Mosley’s solicitors point out that, despite the Court’s “severe criticisms” of the “News of the World”, it and other tabloid newspapers “could use the same techniques tomorrow to obtain and publish intimate photographs and details of the sex lives of individuals, without notice and in the knowledge that it is wholly unlawful“.

The request will be examined by a panel of five judges of the Grand Chamber which will only accept it request if it does raise a serious issue of general importance.  This decision can take up to 6 months.