Media and Law RoundupThe Phone Hacking Trial has completed its twenty fifth week.  After legal argument on Monday and Tuesday, former News of the World Royal Editor Clive Goodman returned on the witness box on Wednesday 14 May 2014, (Day 103).  This continued on Thursday (Day 104) and Friday (Day 105).

We had daily posts on the evidence from Martin Hickman.  Fuller detail of Mr Goodman’s fascinating evidence can be found in James Doleman’s comprehensive reports on The Drum

A comprehensive account of the trial in the form of his live tweets can be found on Peter Jukes’s Fothom Blog.

Meanwhile Trinity Mirror faced questions about phone hacking claims at its Annual General Meeting on Thursday 15 May 2014.  There was a report in the Guardian.

The Sunday Times reports that former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell he may have to sell his £1m family home in London to help pay for a legal case being brought against him by the police over the Plebgate scandal.

The Daily Mail has agreed to pay damages and legal costs to the wife of UKIP leader Nigel Farage after wrongly reporting that he began his relationship with her whilst still with his first wife.  There was a report of the settlement in the Press Gazette.

Data Protection

We covered the important ECJ decision in the Google Spain case extensively.  There were also a number of other important posts which are worth reading on the subject, we refer in particular to the following:

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

There was a statement in open court on 15 May 2014, in the case of Myers v OngThe defendant agreed to withdraw allegations and apologise to the area representative of a line dancing association.  There was a report on the 5RB website.

Newspapers, Journalism and regulation

There was one PCC adjudication this week, in the case of Rod McLean v Daily Record.   This was a Clause 1 complaint concerning the removal of a lifeboat man accused of poaching from a picture of the lifeboat crew. The PCC held that sufficient remedial action had been offered.  There was a story about the adjudication in the Press Gazette.

There were 4 published resolved complaints, against the Sunday Times, the Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Manchester Evening News, all under clause 1.

The Media Blog has a post about the press reports concerning last year’s press reports about the alleged threatened deluge of immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania, under the title The ‘flood of immigrants’ that never was”.  It turns out that the number of Bulgarians and Romanians working the UK fell by 4,000 in the first 3 months of 2014.  We assume that, anxious to comply with their obligations under clause 1 of the PCC code, the press will be correcting their online editions.

In the Courts

On 12 May 2014, Tugendhat J gave judgment in the case of AVB v TDD ([2014] EWHC 1442 (QB)), a privacy trial which was heard on 2-4 and 7 April 2014.  There was a news report about the judgment in the Daily Mail.

On 13 May 2014, there was an application in the case of GG v WY.  Judgment was reserved.

On 14 May 2014, judgment was handed down by the Court of Appeal in the case of Thompson v James ([2014] EWCA Civ 600).  Ms Thompson’s appeal against the verdict on the counterclaim was dismissed.  There were news reports about the decision on the BBC website. in the Carmarthen Journal and in the Local Government Lawyer.  The decision is also discussed on Ms Thompson’s blog, Carmarthenshire Planning Problems and more.

On the same day Tugendhat J handed down judgment in the case of SPA v TAS ([2014] EWHC 1512 (QB)) (heard 8 May 2014).  He upheld a previous order for anonymity on the basis that the case was one of alleged blackmail.

The same judge also handed down judgment in the case of Wissa v Associated Newspapers ([2014] EWHC 1518 (QB)).  The claim was struck out.  There was a report in the Press Gazette.

On 15 May 2014, Laws LJ granted Associated Newspapers permission to appeal in the case of Murray v Associated Newspapers ([2014] EWHC 1170 (QB)) – the case concerning the reading of a statement in open court by J K Rowling.

On 16 May 2014, Mann J handed down judgment in the case of Hannon v NGN ([2014] EWHC 1580 (Ch)).  He dismissed an application by the Sun to strike out two “Operation Elveden” claims on the basis that they were, in reality, “disguised defamation claims”.


20 May 2014, “Inhuman Rights: is the Sun right on the Human Rights Act?”, Helena Kennedy QC, Kings College London.

24 and 25 May 2014 Understanding Transition, Austerity, Communication and the Media“, University of Bucharest.

Know of any media law events happening later this summer or in the autumn? Please let Inforrm know:

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


In the case of  Munsie v Dowling ([2014] NSWSC 598)  Hall J granted Sydney media lawyer Justine Munsie and her client Kerry Stokes an interim injunction to prevent a blogger from publishing defamatory material on his website and Twitter page.  This was the second application for an injunction, the first having been unsuccessful before Harrison J on 17 April 2014 ([2014] NSWSC 458).

On 8 May 2014, in the case of O’Flaherty v City of Sydney Council ([2014] FCAFC 56) the Full Federal Court of Appeal (Edmonds, Tracey and Flick JJ) in  refused to declare a statutory provision which prevented the “Occupy Sydney” movement from camping overnight in Sydney (s.632(1) of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW)) unconstitutional under the Lange doctrine (which concerns the freedom of political communication)


In the case of Fouad v Longman (2014 BCSC 785) the Supreme Court of British Columbia awarded substantial libel damages to two doctors who were the subject of defamatory allegations of professional misconduct by other doctors.  Three defendants were each ordered to pay the plaintiffs Can$50,000 compensatory damages and Can$10,000 aggravated damages.  There were reports of the judgments in the Vancouver Sun and the Alberni Valley News.


The Times of Malta reports that a Nationalist Party MEP candidate, Stefano Mallia, has filed a libel suit against the editor of the newspaper, Kullhadd.

The Malta Independent on Sunday is being sued for libel over a May 4 article that asked who paid for government officials’ trip to car race the Singapore Gran Prix, the Malta Independent reported.  There is a report on about the action on the iMediaEthics website.

Northern Ireland

A Deputy District Judge in Northern Ireland, Brian Archer, sued the Sunday World over an allegation of favoritism towards a defendant.  The case settled after the first day of the trial.  There was a report of the settlement in the Belfast Telegraph.

Next week in the courts

On 19 May 2014, Tugendhat J will hear applications in the linked “plebgate” cases of Mitchell v News Group Newspapers and Rowland v Mitchell.

On 20 May 2014, there will be an application concerning costs in the case of AVB v TDD before Tugendhat J.


The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:

O’Neill v Catalyst Housing Ltd heard9 April 2014 (Dingemans J)

Fontaine v Groarke, heard, 2 May 2014 (Sir David Eady).

Cartus Corporation v Siddell, heard 8 May 2014 (Sir David Eady)

GG v YY, heard 13 May 2014 (Tugendhat J)