The long Inforrm summer break ends today. With the new legal term beginning on 1 October we are resuming our regular weekly round ups and “term time” posting. There are a number of developments to look forward to this autumn – with several libel trials and important appeals due to be heard. On the media regulation front, it seems likely that the Cross-Party Royal Charter will be sealed by the Privy Council very shortly – perhaps as early as the 9 October 2013. And the following day Lord Justice Leveson will be giving evidence to the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee.
On 28 October the first major “phone hacking” criminal trial will commence before Mr Justice Saunders and a jury. The defendants include former News of the World employees Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks, Stuart Kutner, Ian Edmundson and Clive Goodman.
There has been plenty of activity in the media and legal world over the summer. There has been considerable discussion about “blagging” by solicitors and blue chip companies – which some sections of the press have sought to equate to phone hacking. We had a post about what the media has missed in this story. The detention of David Miranda raised questions about press freedom in Britain. And David Cameron complained about photographs taken of him and his family on the beach (see Paul Wragg’s post).
On the legal front, Judge Peter Murphy ruled that [pdf] a defendant could wear the niqqab in court, but not while giving evidence. Contrary to the view apparently taken by most national newspapers, there was no bar to identifying her (see Mike Dodd’s post here).
Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division published draft guidence on greater transparency in the family courts. He also gave an important judgment on the same topic (Re J (A Child) ( EWHC 2694 (Fam) on an application for a “contra mundum” injunction. The Government has launched a consultation on qualified one way cost shifting in defamation cases. And Lord Justice Leveson was appointed President of the Queen’s Bench Division with effect from 1 October.
The most popular post of the summer covered a variety of themes:
- “Leveson: Opinion Poll shows that 50% of public back cross-party charter and 69% favour tougher press regulation“
- “Social Media: How many people use Twitter and what do we think about it?”
- A tale of two British summers: phone hacking and a royal baby – Des Freedman
- What’s wrong with the press bosses’ latest regulation proposal? – Brian Cathcart
- Anonymous posters and the new Defamation Act: the draft regulations – Graham Smith
- Privacy: Asking the wrong question – Raymond Wacks
So, welcome back to our readers. As usual, we would like to encourage contributions to debates in all areas of media related law. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in contributing.