Media and Law Round UpThis week saw the announcement of the retirement of the senior media judge in England and Wales, Mr Justice Tugendhat.  He has been a High Court Judge since April 2003 and the Judge in charge of the “Jury List” since 1 October 2010.

On 22 May 2014, it was announced that Mr Justice Tugendhat would retire on 10 June 2014 and would be replaced on the High Court Bench by Mark Warby QC.  Mr Justice Tugendhat’s statutory retirement date would have been 21 October 2014, his 70th birthday. No announcement has yet been made as to whether, in the light of the very small number of jury trials, Mr Justice Tugendhat will be replaced as the Judge in Charge of the Jury List.

Meanwhile, the Phone Hacking Trial has completed its twenty sixth week. The evidence finally concluded at the end of Clive Goodman’s re-examination on Monday 19 May 2014, his ninth day in the witness box (Day 106). The Judge gave updated directions to the jury – which are summarised on Peter Jukes’s Fothom Blog.

On Tuesday 20 May (Day 107) and Wednesday 21 May (Day 108) the jury heard a closing speech from Jonathan Laidlaw QC on behalf of Rebekah Brooks.  The Court did not sit on Thursday and Friday. The trial will resume on Tuesday 27 May 2014 with the defence speech from Timothy Langdale QC on behalf of Andy Coulson.

The Press Gazette reports that IMPRESS is to begin recruiting after raising nearly £100,000 in funding,

An amendment to the Deregulation Bill has been tabled to repeal section 13 of the Defamation Act 1996, the provision which permits MPs to waive parliamentary privilege in libel cases.  There is a post about the background by on the UK Constitutional Law Blog by Alexander Horne and Oonagh Gay entitled “Ending the Hamilton Affair?”.

Data Protection

The consequences of the Google Spain judgment by the European Court of Justice are still being worked through:

There is an interesting piece in the Irish Times by Karlin Lillington entitled “Transatlantic divide on digital policy” considering policy differences between Europe and the US on data protection and net neutrality.

The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, has written on the ICO Blog post entitled “eBay attack is ‘wake up call to all of us’“.  The ICO has also given Consumer advice on the same subject.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

On 21 May 2014 there was a statement in open court in the case of Frederick v Associated Newspapers. A copy of the statement can be found here [pdf].  We had a post about the case. 

Newspapers, Journalism and regulation

As the PCC winds down prior to its reconstitution as IPSO, it has published only one “resolved complaint” this week: Julie Doubleday v Metro.  It appears that the membership of the board of IPSO may be announced this week.

In the Courts

On 19 May 2014, Tugendhat J heard a third party disclosure applications in the linked “plebgate” cases of Mitchell v News Group Newspapers and Rowland v Mitchell.  Judgment was reserved.

On 20 May 2014, Tugendhat J gave a judgment concerning costs in the case of AVB v TDD ([2014] EWHC 1663 (QB)).

On the same date Tugendhat J gave judgment in the case of GG v YY [2014] EWHC 1627 (QB)


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

19 June 2014, Press Gazette, Defamation 2014″, Leicester Square, London

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

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


The Sydney Morning Herald reports that ABC has challenged conservative commentator Chris Kenny to withdraw his defamation case following and apology by the ABC managing director.

Nick Di Girolamo, the former chief executive of Australian Water Holdings (AWH) and a Liberal party fundraiser at the centre of a recent New South Wales corruption inquiry has launched a Aus$12.5 million defamation claim against Fairfax Media over stories published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

In the case of Chen v Evans [2014] VSC 230 Victorian Supreme Court extended the limitation period so plaintiff could sue Google for defamation.

Finally, we note an article by Richard Ackland the Sydney Morning Herald arguing that “Defamation should be law reform focus, not racial discrimination”


In the case of Tandem Skydive (Fiji) Ltd v Tupek [2014] FJHC 344 the Judge awarded damages for defamation in the sum $85,000 for three plaintiffs in an action based a letter containing allegations of criminal conduct.


On 21 May 2014, the court extended an injunction in the case of O’Mahony v Sharkey, ordering the defendand to take down a defamatory tweet.  There is a report in the Irish Independent.

United States

In the case of Mitchell Vazquez v Teri Buhl [pdf] the Connecticut Court of Appeal rules that a website is not liable for linking to defamatory statements, even where endorsed them.  There is a report about the case on the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press website.

It is reported that the South Dakota Supreme Court has refused to entertain an appeal by ABC News in the so-called “pink slime” libel case and the case will now proceed to trial.  A copy of the Order can be found here [pdf].


On 21 May 2014, the President of Zambia, Michael Sata, appeared as a witness in the High Court in his claim over an article in the Daily Nation making an allegation of corruption.

Research and Resources

Next week in the courts

The Easter Legal Term ended on 23 May 2014 and Trinity Term does not beging until 3 June 2014.  As a result, there are no hearings in media law cases this next week.


The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:

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

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

Mitchell v News Group Newspapers, heard 19 May 2014 (Tugendhat J)