The Trinity Legal Term ended on 31 July 2014. The Senior Courts will now be on “Vacation” until 1 October 2014 and there will be only a handful of urgent media cases heard by the courts. This is the last round up of the legal year before Inforrm takes its summer break until September.
There were a number of hearings next week. The last libel trial of the term, Garcia v Associated Newspapers concluded on the last day of term, 31 July 2014. Dingemans J reserved judgment.
The last judgment of the term was in Hegglin v Google Inc. handed down handed down at 4pm on 31 July 2014 by Bean J (whose elevation to the Court of Appeal was announced on the same day). The judgment is not yet available but the fact that the judge had granted permission to serve Google out of the jurisdiction and had given directions for trial had been made public at the hearing on Tuesday 29 July 2014.
Bean J has been acting as the temporary judge in charge of the non-jury and jury lists. A new formal appointment is now overdue. The Judiciary website still has Tugendhat J in post, despite the fact that he retired two months ago.
It was also announced that Max Mosley was bringing proceedings against Google Inc for misuse of private information and of data protection rules.
The libel case brought by Conservative Welsh Assembly member Mohammad Asghar has been adjourned due to the illness of the Fourth Defendant. The hearing will not be resumed until December 2014 at the earliest. There are reports of the case and the adjournment on BBC News and on the 5RB website.
On Wednesday 30 July 2014 the CPS announced that former News of the World features editor Jules Stenson and ex-deputy editor Neil Wallis were to be charged with conspiring to illegally listen to voicemails between January 2003 and January 2007. We had a post on the subject and there were reports in the Press Gazette and the Guardian.
Roy Greenslade noted that thirteen people who had been arrested after a Sun on Sunday investigation into football spot fixing by Mahzer Mahmood had been released from police bail.
Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems has launched a wide-ranging class action against Facebook Ireland fore breaching data protection law. There is a report on Wired.co.uk. Facebook users can sign up to join the class action here.
The Hawktalk Blog has an interesting post entitled “Has Europe cut the UK adrift on Data Protection?”
The House of Lords Home Affairs, Health and Education EU Sub-Committee has released a report entitled “EU Data Protection law: a ‘right to be forgotten’? The Committee said that the ruling was “unworkable” and “wrong in principle”. There is a report in the Press Gazette.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
Unusually, there were no statements in open court this week. Benjamin Pell draws our attention to the fact that this first time that there have been no such statements in the last week of the legal year since at least 1996.
However, the end of term tradition was upheld in Dublin where there were two statements in open court.
First, as noted by Roy Greenslade there was was one in which Associated Newspapers apologised and paid damages to an Irish senator, Fidelma Healy Eames, over article published in the Irish Daily Mail in August 2012.
Second, as reported by the Irish Independent, the Spectator apologised in open court for referring to Irish businessman Paddy McKillen as a “front man” for Qatari investors in Claridges.
Newspapers, Journalism and regulation
There were no PCC adjudications this week. There were three published resolved complaints: one each against the Sun, the West Briton and the BMJ.
IPSO, the still embryonic body set up by the large newspaper groups in defiance of the Leveson process, has announced the appointed of Matt Tee as its Chief Executive. There was a report in the Press Gazette and on Roy Greenslade’s blog. PR Week reported that the PR industry had welcomed Mr Tee’s appointment.
The Press Gazette has an interesting post “UK newspapers ranked by total readership (print and online)”. Taking print and online readership together, the Sun remains the most read newspaper with a weekly readership of 13.5 million with the Mail newspapers second on 12 million.
The Media Standards Trust has published an Excel spreadsheet containing a database of all the articles published on press regulation in the UK national press from 29 November 2012 to 29 November 2013. It will shortly publish its analysis of this data.
The Australian Press Council (APC) has released its new Statement of General Principles as part of its Standards Project where it is reviewing its Standards of Practice and creating new ones. It applies to all print and online news material from August 1, 2014.
In the Courts
On Monday 28 July 2014, Warby J handed down judgment in the case of Mitchell v News Group Newspapers. The judiciary website has, we are pleased to see, now moved him from the Family Division to his rightful place in the Queen’s Bench Division.
As already mentioned, on Tuesday 29 July 2014, there was an application in the case of Hegglin v Google Inc. Permission was granted to serve Google out of the jurisdiction and directions given to a trial in November 2014.
On 30 July 2014, there was a CMC in the case of Yeo v Times Newspapers Ltd.
On 31 July 2014, there was a hearing in the case of Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust & ors v Shaikh before HHJ Moloney who gave an ex tempore judgment.
On 31 July 2014, the Court of Appeal (Arden and Christopher Clarke LJJ and Barling J) gave judgment in the case of IG Index v Cloete ( EWCA Civ 1128). The Court allowed the claimant’s appeal against the judgment of Tugendhat J dismissing the action  EWHC 3789 (QB).
On 1 August 2014, the Court of Appeal (Master of the Rolls, Sharp and Vos LJJ) handed down judgment in the case of PNM v Times Newspapers  EWCA Civ 1132 (heard 18 June 2014). The appeal was dismissed. We will publish a case comment shortly.
9 and 10 September 2014, SLS Annual Conference, Media and Communications subject section.
Know of any media law events happening later this summer or in the autumn? Please let Inforrm know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the case of Wilson v Coxon  WASC 268, Kenneth Martin J made an order striking out the defendant’s so-called “Polly Peck defence” (that is a plea of the defendant’s own meaning which it will seek to justify). The defendant was given leave to replead.
In the case of Sagman v. Politi, 2014 ONSC 4183 the Ontario Superior Court of Justice assessed libel damages in the sum of Can$350,000 (including Can$50,000 punitive damages) in respect of defamatory internet posting which appeared on the defendant’s websites.
The former Governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, has succeeded in his libel case against the estate of Chris Kyle, the author of “American Sniper”. best-selling book defamed Mr Ventura in its description of a bar fight in California in 2006. Mr Kyle had written that he decked a man whom he later identified as Ventura after the man allegedly said the Navy SEALs “deserve to lose a few.” After six days of deliberations and an agreed majority direction the jury awarded Mr Ventura damages of US$1.8 million. There are reports in the Houston Chronicle, the Washington Times,
Research and Resources
- The rise of the interim injunctions in the Czech republic. The effective way how to protect celebrities when their image rights, privacy or reputation has been infringed. Czech Defamation Law blog.
- The Terminator as Eraser: How Arnold Schwarzenegger Used the Right of Publicity to Terminate Non-Defamatory Political Speech, Santa Clara Law Review, Vol. 45, p. 651, 2005, Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 23-14, David Welkowitz and Tyler Trent Ochoa, SSRN.
- The Zombie First Amendment, Julie E Cohen, William and Mary Law Review, Vol 56, No.3, 2015. SSRN
- The Right to Be Forgotten in the Google Spain Case (Case C-131/12): A Clear Victory for Data Protection or an Obstacle for the Internet?, Ioannis Iglezakis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, SSRN.
Next week in the courts
The vacation has now begun and there are no media and law hearings listed for next week.
The following reserved judgment in media law cases are outstanding:
Cartius v Atlantic Mobility, heard 19 June 2014 (HHJ Parkes QC)
Bewry v. Reed Elsevier UK Limited (T/A Lexisnexis), heard 7 July 2014 (Lewison, Macur and Sharp LJJ)
Flood v Times Newspapers, heard 8 July 2014 (Sharp and Macur LJJ and Sir Timothy Lloyd).
Sharma v Sharma heard 15 July 2014 (HHJ Moloney QC)
Cooke v MGN, heard 23 July 2014, (Bean J)
Garcia v Associated Newspapers, heard 21-25, 28-9 and 31 July 2014 (Dingemans J)