After months of anticipation, David Cameron gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry this week, along with deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, former prime ministers Gordon Brown and Sir John Major and opposition leader Ed Miliband. He was asked about the News Corp BSkyB bid, his relationship with former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and the hiring of former NoW editor Andy Coulson as director of communications for Number 10. Continue reading
The Defamation Bill 2012 has had its second reading and is now at the Committee Stage in the House of Commons. The Committee has not yet reached clause 11 which is headed “Trial to be without a jury unless the court orders otherwise”. This clause removes the right to jury trial in actions for libel and slander. As a result, such actions are in the same category as all other claims: such actions “shall be tried without a jury unless the court in its discretion orders it to be tried with a jury” (section 69(3), Senior Courts Act 1981). Continue reading
On 19 June 2012 in the cases of Kurier Zeitungsverlag und Druckerei GmbH (No. 2) v. Austria (Application no. 1593/06) and Krone Verlag GmbH v. Austria (no. 27306/07), the First Section of the European Court of Human Rights In Chamber judgments held that there had been no violation of Article 10 in two cases in which newspapers had revealed the identity of a child and published photographs from which he could be recognised. The publications were an interference with the child’s private life, and that the compensation of €9,000 and €130,000 was proportionate. Continue reading
As the Leveson Inquiry considers proposals for a replacement for the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), research published by LSE finds that the model proposed by UK Newspapers would diverge from international norms.
Most journalism councils are founded by journalist’s associations together with publishers and can involve some state role without undermining freedom of expression. In the light of this international research, the PCC proposals seem to re-introduce the basic flaws that undermined the previous UK model, namely that the the body exists – or is percieved to exist – to protect the interests of owners and editors, rather than those of journalism and the public. Continue reading
The first libel jury trial for nearly 3 years has resulted in a victory for the claimant. After a five day trial a High Court jury unanimously found in favour of graduate student and part time university tutor Luke Cooper and awarded damages of £35,000 against the Evening Standard and £25,000 against the Daily Mail. Continue reading
This is the second and concluding part of a Note on the Defamation Bill. The first part was published on Inforrm on 20 June 2012.
Clause 6: Privilege for Peer-reviewed Academic or Scientific Publication
We have serious reservations about clause 6 of the Bill which provides a form of qualified privilege to statements published in scientific or academic journals that have been subject to a peer review process. Continue reading
Harassment usually involves two individuals, the classic example being stalking but claims can, potentially cover a much wider range of activities. In Trimingham v Associated Newspapers Limited ( EWHC 1296 (QB)), the claimant Carina Trimingham claimed that she had been harassed by a large number of articles in the Daily Mail in print and online, and by comments left by readers on the paper’s website. Continue reading
A clear majority of people trust the Leveson inquiry to deliver more effective regulation of the press and better protection of the public from intrusion, according to a poll carried out for the Times. It’s a fact. A poll for the Times did find that, but unfortunately you didn’t read it in the Times. Continue reading
We are two academic lawyers who specialise in the area of libel and media law more broadly. We have been much engaged in the policy debate on libel reform, and have been critical of the approach reflected in the Defamation Bill and its earlier iterations. Our appreciation of the problems in this area chimes very much more strongly with the general theme surrounding costs, procedure and access to justice for both defendants and claimants that emerged strongly during the Second Reading debate.