The Guardian is attempting to overturn the Attorney General’s veto of the publication of Prince Charles’ correspondence with seven Government departments. An application for judicial review was heard over two days last week by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, with Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Globe.
The Home Secretary Theresa May has announced the creation of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel, which will seek to answer questions about the murder of the private investigator Daniel Morgan in 1987, including “the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists at the News of the World and other parts of the media and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them“. According to her statement [PDF], the remit of the Panel will be to “shine a light on the circumstances of Daniel Morgan’s murder, its background and the handling of the case“. Daniel Morgan’s family has released a statement here; a number of resources can be found on the Jack of Kent blog here; Peter Jukes reports on developments in a report for the Daily Beast here.
The Newspaper Society announced a change to the planned rules for the industry’s draft Royal Charter: its Implementation Group will recommend that the requirement for qualified majority voting on appointments to the Board of the new Regulator for the press should be dropped and “that the Appointments Panel should make its decisions by consensus of its members,” it said. The veto was not specified in the draft Royal Charter, but was in the articles of association the group was drawing up, according to the Guardian. The Petition for a Royal Charter submitted by the Press Standards Board of Finance Limited (Pressbof) to the Privy Council Office is currently open for public consultation until 24 May, after which time the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will consider its future.
A former police sergeant who attempted to sell a story about Katie Price and Peter Andre’s daughter to the News of the World has been imprisoned for 10 months. He is the fourth police officer jailed after prosecutions under the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Elveden, the BBC reports here.
Robert Jay QC, of 39 Essex Street and the counsel to the Leveson Inquiry, has been appointed a Justice of the High Court with effect from 4 June 2013. He will be assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
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Journalism and regulation
There are no new PCC adjudications to report, but a number of resolved cases:
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust v Hull Daily Mail, Clause 1, 10/05/2013; Sharon Planson v Herald & Post (Luton), Clause 3, 09/05/2013; Hilary Buchanan v Daily Record, Clause 5, 09/05/2013; Mrs Lynn Ellard v Daily Mail, Clause 1, 09/05/2013; Mr Dean Buckingham v Barnsley Chronicle, Clauses 3, 5, 09/05/2013;
Colin Baker v The Sun, Clause 1, 09/05/2013; Mrs Debbie Lloyd-Hughes v Daily Mirror, Clause 1, 07/05/2013.
Reuters reports that in the US, Bloomberg clients – including the US Federal Reserve and the US Treasury – have been examining whether there could have been leaks of confidential information to journalists. In a statement on the Bloomberg blog, Daniel L. Doctoroff, CEO and President, Bloomberg L.P said that company had last month changed its policy “so that all reporters only have access to the same customer relationship data available to our clients“. The Financial Times reports here (subscription required).
Research & resources
- Jack of Kent: Daniel Morgan resource page
- Article 19, Policy Brief: The Right to Blog
- Media Standards Trust, Leveson coverage analysis
- Griffith University, ‘Making sense of media law via social media’
- Paper, Richard Cornes, ‘A constitutional disaster in the making? The communications challenge facing the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court‘, Public Law, 2013. pp. 266-291
- Leslie J. Moran, ‘Mass-mediated ‘open justice’: court and judicial reports in the Press in England and Wales‘, Legal Studies.
- ‘Post-Mortem Privacy’ issue, SCRIPTed, A Journal of Law, Technology & Society (2013) 10:1, 1-139
- Society of Socio-Legal Scholars, ‘Open Access’ discussion
- Legal Intelligencer, ‘Social Media Law Center’ / Cases table
- European Communication Research and Education Association’s (ECREA) Communication Law & Policy Section (CLP): http://commlawpolicy.wordpress.com/
- Ms Lods’ Law and Technology round up
In the Courts
On 1 May 2013, judgment was handed down in Cruddas v Calvert & Ors  EWHC 1096 (QB) (01 May 2013). Nicol J did not allow the Claimant, the former Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas, to amend the malicious falsehood part of his claim to try to show that the defendants intended to harm a third-party, as noted by PA Media Lawyer here. The judge did allow a number of the amendments, involving issues of malice and aggravation of damages.
The trial in Hunt v Times Newspapers continued before Simon J. It will conclude this week.
The trial in Small v Turner began before Tugendhat J on 7 May 2013 but settled on the second day.
16-17 May 2013, Legal frontiers in digital media: the sixth annual conference on emerging legal issues surrounding digital publishing and content distribution, Stanford University, Paul Brest Hall, Stanford, California.
23-24 May 2013, “Social Media, Regulation and Freedom of Expression: A comparative perspective”. A workshop organized by HKBU and Tsinghua University, Communication & Visual Arts Building, Hong Kong Baptist University. Hong Kong.
23 May 2013, British Institute of International and Comparative Law: The Right to Privacy and the Freedom of the Press: From the European to Domestic Perspectives … and Back, London.
31 May 2013, Rethinking Media and Journalism Practice, University of Winchester.
10 June 2013, Caught in the web: how free are we online?, Kings Place, London.
24-25 June 2013, The Constitution of the Public Sphere: the post-Leveson Landscape (W G Hart Legal Workshop 2013), Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London.
17 September 2013, IBC Legal’s Protecting the Media 2013, London.
26-27 September 2013, Jersey Law Via the Internet 2013, Radisson Blu Hotel, Jersey.
Know of any media law events happening in the next few months? Please let Inforrm know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Australia: The Conservative Party’s Australian election strategist, Lynton Crosby, has brought defamation proceedings against a Labour politician in the Federal Court in Australia over an alleged defamatory tweet. Inforrm reported the claim here.
Mexico: Changes to the Federal Code on Penal Procedure will enact constitutional reform granting the federal government the power to prosecute crimes against freedom of expression, reports the International Press Institute.
Trinidad and Tobago: An amendment to the Libel and Defamation Act that would remove criminal sanctions for malicious defamation is expected to be passed with a simple majority, according to a report in the Trinidad Express. However, it quotes the Attorney General explaining that journalists could still face criminal prosecution if “if they actually know something is false but they intentionally and deliberately nevertheless take a decision to publish it“, under Section 8.
United States: Following concerns about a proposed Social Networking Privacy law in New Jersey, a Governor in the state, Chris Christie, has issued a conditional veto of the legislation. Lexology reports: “His conditional veto aims to strike language from the bill that many criticized would make New Jersey’s legislation the harshest in the country and would risk an increase of frivolous lawsuits against private employers“.
Next week in the courts
The trial in Hunt v Times Newspapers will continue this week and is due to finish on Thursday 16 May 2013.
On Monday 13 May 2013, Tugendhat J will give judgment in the case of ABK v KDT.
On 14 May 2013 there will be an application in the case of Price v Powell and Ors. The background to the case can be found in a Daily Mail news report from last September.
On 15 May 2013, there will be an application in the case of Fox v Boulter. Judgment was given on an earlier application on 13 November 2012 ( EWHC 3183 (QB)).
On 16 May 2013, there will be an application in the case of McAlpine v Bercow. The purpose of the hearing is to determine the “meaning” of Ms Bercow’s tweets following Tugendhat J’s order for the trial of a preliminary issue on meaning last month ( EWHC 981 (QB))
Next week in Parliament
Monday 13 May 2013, 2.30pm, Proposals put forward by newspapers in response to the Leveson inquiry report – Lord Fowler, Main Chamber, House of Lords.
Tuesday 14 May 2013, 10.30am, Culture, Media and Sport select committee. Subject: Support for the creative industries. Witness(es): Mr Edward Vaizey MP, UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Viscount Younger of Leckie, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Business Innovation and Skills. Location: The Grimond Room, Portcullis House.
Tuesday 14 May 2013, 11.30am, Business, Innovation and Skills. Subject: Open Access.
Witness(es): Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science and Ron Egginton C Eng MBA, Head BBSRC and ESRC Team Research Funding Unit, BIS Observer on the Finch working group. Location: Room 18, Palace of Westminster.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:
AAA v Associated Newspapers heard 29 and 30 April 2013 (Master of the Rolls, Tomlinson and Ryder LJJ)
Euromoney plc v Aviation News Ltd heard 2 May 2013 (Tugendhat J)
Also on Inforrm last week
- News: Conservative Strategist Lynton Crosby and an Australian twitter libel action
- Public distrusts press version of regulation scheme – Brian Cathcart
- Defamation Act 2013 – the Explanatory Notes
- News: “Secret Arrests” Opinion Poll: Public agrees with Leveson, ACPO and the Judges
- The United Kingdom in Strasbourg – all the Article 10 judgments
- Media Standards Trust: Leveson Coverage Analysis
- News: London Riots “Good Samaritan” receives damages and apology from the police – Tamsin Allen and Samantha Broadley
- A Dacre’s Dozen: 12 fatal flaws in the press barons’ charter – Evan Harris
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 email@example.com.