The new legal term begins today with our first Round Up of the year. There are six judge alone libel trials and one privacy trial listed this term (see below). The phone hacking trial has already resumed and seems likely to continue until Easter and beyond.
The phone hacking trial began again after its seasonal break on 6 January 2014. This was week 8 of the trial and was concerned largely with evidence relating to the allegations of perverting the course of justice. The jury heard evidence for three and a half days – the hearing being curtailed by a barristerial withdrawal of labour on Monday and a juror funeral on Friday (see #pressform collection of links and our post on resources for the trial).
The Defamation Act 2013 came into force on 1 January 2014 and applies to all causes of action arising after that date. We have had a series of posts about the Act representing a variety of points of view. The Master of the Rolls put out a statement about the Act on 2 January 2014, seeking to explain why the Act had not resulted in substantial changes to the Civil Procedure Rules.
In the field of press regulation, it was announced that the IPSO appointments panel would consist of 2 press representatives and 3 others. Roy Greenslade described the new body as “the PCC with extra bells and whistles”. Hacked Off commented that the new panel showed that IPSO was “anything but independent”. The Scottish Government confirmed that press regulation would continue under the Royal Charter if there was a yes vote in the independence referendum.
There were a number of interesting social media and cyberbullying stories over the last month. We had Clare Brown’s round up of these.
Libel and Privacy Trials this Term
The following libel trials are listed this term:
- Horne v Dempster 30 January 2014, time estimate, 1 day (assessment of damages)
- Fox v Boulter 3 February 2014, time estimate, 4-5 days
- Tse v Fung 10 February 2014, time estimate, 3 days.
- Nouchin v Telegraph Media Group Ltd 12 February 2014, time estimate, 2 days.
- Taylor v Media Wales Ltd 19 March 2104, time estimate, 1 day
- Berg v Jones 17 March 2014, time estimate 2 days
There is one privacy trial listed: Weller v Associated Newspapers Limited 24 March 2104, time estimate 3-5 days. We thank Benjamin Pell for providing us with this list.
Journalism and regulation
The Greenslade Blog reports that the Telegraph Media Group is expected to report a profit of £60 million in 2013 – the third successive year that the company has increased its operating profit.
There has been one PCC adjudication since our last round up. In the case of June McKibbin v Sunday World (10 January 2014). A complaint under clause 3 (privacy) in relation to the publication of a photograph was upheld. A complaint under clause 1 (accuracy) was not upheld on the ground that all the newspaper was reporting was the opinion of a third party.
The PCC has resolved 27 complaints over the same period.
In the Courts
A number of judgments have been given since our last Round Up on 16 December 2013 (more details on our Table of Media Law Cases):
- Fox v Boulter  EWHC 4012 (QB) (Tugendhat J)
- Flood v Times Newspapers  EWHC 4075 (QB) (Nicolas Davies J)
- Kneafsey v Independent Television News Ltd  EWHC 4046 (QB) (Tugendhat J)
- Vaughan v London Borough of Lewisham  EWHC 4118 (QB) (Sir David Eady)
On 3 January 2014, the Court of Appeal refused permission to appeal on the papers in the case of Tamiz v Guardian Newspapers.
The permission to appeal hearing the case of Cruddas v Calvert will take place on 26 March 2014.
2 February 2014: Westminster Media Forum “European media policy – preparing for the converged landscape“
8-9 April 2014, “1984: Freedom and Censorship in the Media – Where Are We Now?“, Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland
Know of any media law events happening later year or next year? Please let Inforrm know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Philippines: The Court of Appeal refused an application by the former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban for an injunction to restrain the prosecution of a libel claim against him. The libel claim has been filed by a businessman, Herminio Disini.
Portugal: On 3 January 2014 Judge Marie de Melo e Castro ruled that Kate and Gerry McCann could not give evidence in the libel trial of disgraced detective Goncalo Amaral.
Saudi Arabia: A Saudi court has sentenced a man convicted of defaming a Kuwaiti singer by accusing her on Twitter of adultery to three months in jail and 80 lashes
Zambia: An opposition leader, Frank Bwalya, head of the Alliance for a Better Zambia, has been arrested and charged with defamation after he compared the president to a potato.
Next week in the courts
On 13 January 2014, Nicola Davies J will hear an application in the harassment case of Styles v Photographer AAA & ors.
On 14 and 15 January 2014 there will an application to commit in the case of EWQ v GFD.
On 16 January 2014, there will be an application in the case of Mount v Hodder and Stoughton
The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:
AVB v TDD 1 November 2013, (Bean J).
Makudi v Triesman, 28 November 2013 (Laws, Tomlinson and Rafferty LJJ).
Miller v Associated Newspapers, 10 and 11 December 2013 (Maurice Kay, Moore-Bick and Lloyd-Jones LJJ)
Vidal-Hall & ors v Google Inc, 16 and 17 December 2013 (Tugendhat J)