Law and Media Round Up – 3 December 2012

3 12 2012

Round Up‘L-Day’ arrived and saw the release of 1,987 pages and over one million words in the Leveson report. Edward Craven summarised the key recommendations here for Inforrm. It has been extensively covered in the mainstream media, with most attention on Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations for a new regulatory system.

Inforrm has run a series of articles pre and post release (see end of round up), including Hugh Tomlinson QC’s analysis on the legality of the Leveson proposals. The human rights angle is also picked up by Charon QC here; and the UK Human Rights Blog here, following the Mail on Sunday’s coverage of Leveson assessor and Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti’s views (Liberty has responded to Sunday’s media coverage here).

As Edward Craven noted, the Leveson Report makes several other recommendations of interest to media lawyers on civil litigation damages and costs and an arbitration service [exec summary here], although these parts have received less media attention. Richard Moorhead argues the case for an Ombudsman on his Lawyer Watch blog here.

Professor Moorhead followed up this post with a brief discussion of the judgment in O’Dwyer v ITV [2012] EWHC 3321, noting that Tugendhat J’s comments provide “an interesting take on the power dynamics between self-represented parties and their opponents in media cases“.

The judgment, handed down on 30 November, struck out a defamation claim from a self-represented litigant: it was “not arguable” that the ITV programme “Homes from Hell: Chasing the Dream” harmed Mr O’Dwyer’s reputation; “rather it portrays him (whether rightly or wrongly) as the victim of serious assaults, and other wrongs, suffered in the course of an attempt to buy a house for his family“.

In Moorhead’s view, an Ombudsman, “with statutory powers to decide such cases to the (normal) exclusion of the courts” could decide this type of case. PA Media Lawyer reported on the case here (£).

The Government’s ‘secret courts’ bill (the Justice and Security Bill [HL]) has cleared the House of Lords and was presented to the House of Commons on 28 November 2012.

Meanwhile, the Crime and Courts Bill [HL] reached Report stage in the House of Lords on 27 November. A second day of report stage is scheduled for 4 December. In a report, the Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee raised ‘serious concerns’ over government plans to broadcast court proceedings and called for a more cautious approach, as reported by Law Gazette.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

Independent News & Media publicly apologised to Lord Ashcroft at the High Court on 26 November before Eady J, over articles published in The Independent newspaper concerning his business interests in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The agreed statement brought three years of litigation to an end. Mark Warby QC, for Lord Ashcroft, said: “Independent News and Media now accept that, despite the disclaimer, the articles published, when read as a whole, did tend to link Lord Ashcroft’s name with allegations of scandalous corruption. The company is represented here today to apologise unreservedly to Lord Ashcroft for these false implications”. PA Media Lawyer reported here. 5RB has a report here.

Journalism and regulation

The PCC has published adjudications on three new cases:

Resolved cases included:

Research & resources

In the Courts

As noted above, a defamation claim was struck out in O’Dwyer v ITV [2012] EWHC 3321.

On Wednesday 28 November 2012 the Court of Appeal (Arden and Lloyd-Jones LJJ and Tugendhat J) heard the case of Cammish v Hughes at the Cardiff Civil Justice Centre.  Judgment was reserved.

On the same day Kenneth Parker J granted a final injunction in the harassment case of Maisto v Kyrgiannakis and made a provisional award of damages for £15,000.  There is a news item about the case on the One Brick Court website.

Mr Justice Bean dismissed the claim in Mengi v Hermitage [2012] EWHC 3445 (QB) (30 November 2012), finding for the Defendant on both justification and qualified privilege. The case, brought by Reginald Mengi, a Tanzanian businessman and philanthropist with ownership interests in the Tanzanian media, concerned five postings on Sarah Hermitage’s Silverdale Farm blog and two emails. Carter Ruck, which acted for the Defendant on a CFA, has published a press release [PDF]. Index on Censorship reported the case here.

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson won his appeal against a High Court ruling that News Group Newspapers (NGN) did not have to pay his legal costs arising from the phone hacking litigation (Andrew Coulson v News Group Newspapers Limited [2012] EWCA Civ 1547). The City Legal Research blog has a post here.

Events

10 December, 8pm, OpenDemocracy: Can we trust the BBC? Cafe Oto, London.

11 December, 6pm, Law Society Public Debate Series: Leveson Report, The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL [This debate has been changed from 26th November to 11th December 2012].

15 December 2012, all day, Journalism, Churnalism and Media Bias: CFI UK conference, London.

Know of any media law events happening in December 2012 and early 2013? Please let Inforrm know: inforrmeditorial@gmail.com.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Northern Ireland: The Northern Ireland High Court has ordered Facebook to take down a page entitled ‘Keeping our kids safe from predators’ on an application made by a convicted sex offender, as Inforrm reported here.

Ireland: X Factor judge Louis Walsh settled a defamation action against News Group Newspapers in Ireland, receiving an apology and 500,000 euros in damages over a false story in the Sun newspaper that he sexually assaulted a man in a Dublin nightclub. The Irish Times reports here.

Netherlands (ECtHR): The Dutch secret service breached the rights of two Dutch journalists to protect their sources, when it tapped their telephones and demanded the return of leaked documents, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled, as reported by DutchNews.nl. The Dutch government was ordered to pay the applicants 60,000 euros, plus interest, in costs and expenses (Telegraaf Media Nederland Landelijke Media BV and Others v The Netherlands, Application no. 39315/06, Third Chamber Court, Strasbourg, November 22.)

Bahrain: Index on Censorship examines the reasons for celebrity Kim Kardashian’s recent trip to Bahrain in this post.

Next week in the courts

On 3 December 2012, Tugendhat J will hear an application in the case of Price v Powell the claim brought by model Katie Price against her ex husband Peter Andre her former manager Claire Powell.

On 4 December 2012, the Court of Appeal (Master of the Rolls, Richards and Sullivan LJJ) will hear the appeal in Tamiz v Google.

On 5 December 2012 there will be applications in the case of Desmond v Foreman (previous hearing [2012] EWHC 1900 (QB)) and Hardy v Mooney.

Next week in Parliament

Monday 3 December, 2.30pm, Debate – Leveson Inquiry, Main Chamber, House of Commons

Tuesday 4 December, 2.30pm, Legislation – Crime and Courts Bill [HL] – Report stage (Day 2) – Lord Henley, Main Chamber, House of Lords

Tuesday 4 December, 11am, House of Lords Communications select committee. Committee visit to the Telegraph Media Group. 3.15pm: Subject – media convergence. Witness(es): (at 3.30pm) Mr Edward Rousell, Digital Editor, Telegraph Media Group; and (at 4.30pm) Mr Simon Milner, Policy Director, Facebook, and Ms Sarah Hunter, Head of UK Public Policy, Google. Location: Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster, House of Lords.

Wednesday 5 December, 2.30pm, 4pm, Future of regional newspapers – Andrew Griffiths, Westminster Hall, House of Commons

Judgments

The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:

  • Miller v Associated Newspapers heard 21 to 25 May 2012 (Sharp J)
  • Iqbal v Mansoor, heard 31 October 2012 (Rix, Etherton and Lewison LJJ)
  • Cammish v Hughes, heard 28 November 2012 (Arden and Lloyd-Jones LJJ and Tugendhat J).

Also on Inforrm last week

This week’s Round Up was compiled for Inforrm by Judith Townend, a freelance journalist and PhD researcher examining legal restraints on the media, who runs the Meeja Law blog. She is @jtownend on Twitter. Please send suggestions, tips and event listings for inclusion in future round ups to jt.townend@gmail.com.


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3 12 2012
Law and Media Round Up – 2 December 2012 | Media law and ethics

[…] Full Law and Media Round Up at Inforrm’s blog… […]

7 12 2012
Law and Media Round Up – 2 December 2012 « Inforrm's Blog | Media Law | Scoop.it

[…] In a report, the Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee raised 'serious concerns' over government plans to broadcast court proceedings and called for a more cautious approach, as reported by Law Gazette.  […]

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