News: Leveson Inquiry, Week 22: David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown – Natalie Peck

25 06 2012

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Inforrm Debate: Should libel jury trials be abolished? – Introduction

24 06 2012

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). Read the rest of this entry »

Case Law, Court of Human Rights, Kurier and Krone Verlag v Austria, no violation of Article 10 in case involving a child – Hugh Tomlinson QC

24 06 2012

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. Read the rest of this entry »

New Report – PCC Reform: Lessons from Abroad – Damian Tambini

23 06 2012

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. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Cooper libel jury trial, claimant awarded £60,000

22 06 2012

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.  Read the rest of this entry »

A Note on the Defamation Bill, Part 2 – Alastair Mullis and Andrew Scott

22 06 2012

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Case Law: Trimingham v Associated Newspapers, no “harassment by newspaper” – Gervase de Wilde

22 06 2012

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 ([2012] 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. Read the rest of this entry »

Public backs Leveson, Times poll says (but the Times doesn’t) – Brian Cathcart

21 06 2012

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. Read the rest of this entry »

A Note on the Defamation Bill, Part 1 – Alastair Mullis and Andrew Scott

21 06 2012

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Publication: ‘Justice Wide Open’ Working Papers – Judith Townend

20 06 2012

The real “democratic deficit” in the courts is about limited public access not “unelected judges“, Adam Wagner, a barrister at One Crown Office Row, argued on the UK Human Rights Blog at the weekend, challenging a recent political and media narrative.

In his view, the internet age necessitates “a completely new understanding of the old adage ‘Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done‘”. Read the rest of this entry »