The summer diversions of privacy injunction hysteria, #piggate and Corby-abuse, are over. The new legal term will see an interesting programme of cases before the courts – including the important appeals in the Gulati and Weller cases, starting on 21 and 27 October 2015 respectively. Our comments on the first instance decisions are here and here.
The criminal courts continue to sit during the legal vacation The trial of Sun journalists Chris Pharo and Jamie Pyatt began at the Old Bailey on 22 September 2015 and is continuing.
Journalist Martin Hickman has been covering the trial, supported by crowdfunding, on the Byline website. These are his posts to date:
- 22.09.2015 Sun journalists had “corrupt relationship” with police officers.
- 23.09.2015 Detective “incandescent” at Sun picture of suspect
- 24.09.2015 Murdoch’s NI began police bribery inquiry into Sun
- 25.09.2015 Crown closes corruption case against Sun journalists
- 29.09.2015 Inside Rebekah Brooks’ Sun: Anger, Humiliation and F-Words
- 30.09.2015 Sun news editor: The editor did cash payments
- 01.10.2015 Sun news editor: I didn’t believe ‘cops’ were police
- 01.10.2015 Sun reporter: I lied to police
- 02.10.2015 Jamie Pyatt: I could have exposed Jimmy Savile
Data Protection and Data Privacy
There has been widespread commentary on the opinion of the Advocate General in the Schrems case. The Court will be delivered on Tuesday, 6 October 2015.
We published a comment from Lorna Woods. We also draw attention to the following:
- European Court of Justice Advocate General’s Advisory Opinion in Schrems case questions validity of personal data transfers under EU/US Safe Harbor framework, Data Protection Report
- Advocate-General’s Opinion in Schrems Safe Harbor case, André Bywater, Jonathan Armstrong and Gayle McFarlane, Lexis®PSL IP & IT’s WIPIT blog.
- “Data Transfers to the US: Safe Harbour Declared Invalid“, Ross McKean, Datonomy Blog.
- AG Bot on Schrems v DP Commissioner: does the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights really go beyond the ECHR?, Sophie Stalla-Bourdillon, peep beep! blog.
The Datonomy blog has a Cyber Update dated 30 September 2015 is entitled “Not another Safe Harbour Update”.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There have been no statements in open court during the summer legal vacation.
Newspapers, Journalism and regulation
The Greenslade blog reported that “Ipso moves closer to decision on launching a pilot arbitration service“.
Recent cases in the Courts
On 23 September 2015, the defendant in the case of His Highness Prince Moulay Hicham Ben Abdullah Al Alaoui of Morocco v Elaph Publishing Limited was granted permission to appeal. The appeal is likely to be heard later in the year.
We are not aware of any media legal cases in the domestic Courts over the last week.
Please let us know if there are any events you would like to be included on this list by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the case of Chiguvare v Seven Network (Operations) Limited  ACTSC 285 the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory allowed an application to strike out various defamatory imputations in a libel claim arising out of a television broadcast.
In Kazal v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited  NSWSC 1336 Adamson J gave the plaintiff permission to amend his statement of claim.
In the case of Shift2Neutral Pty Ltd v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd  NSWCA 274 the Court of Appeal of New South Wales dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal against a judgment upholding a justification defence.
In an article in the International Business Times it is said that “Social media defamation cases are surging in Australia“.
In the case of British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association v. Zakharia, 2015 BCSC 1650 the plaintiffs were, after a trial, awarded general, aggravated and punitive damages in the total sum of Can $175,000 and granted a permanent injunction.
In the case of Chandra v CBC, 2015 ONSC 5303 the plaintiff, who sued the broadcaster for defamation, was given permission to add a claim for invasion of privacy. There is an article about this in the Law Times by Tali Folkins.
In Buck v Morris et al., 2015 ONSC 5632 the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a libel action arising out of a “Statement from the Town of Aurora Counsel”. The jury was discharged after counsel’s closing speeches because the plaintiff’s counsel had, contrary to the judge’s earlier rulings, mentioned damages figures to the jury.
The South China Morning Post reports that a Hong Kong feng shui master is suing twins for defamation over article he says cost him HK$35 million.
The Hoot blog has an interesting post entitled “Raising the threshold for defamation” concerning a court order which is said to tilt the balance slightly in favour of journalists and bloggers.
The Irish Independent reports that the High Court has ordered Twitter to identify the anonymous author of a tweet which is alleged to have defamed a whistle-blower who took part in an RTÉ Prime Time programme.
The former Conservative Party leader, Colin Craig, has lodged defamation proceedings against the party’s former chairman, John Stringer.
It is reported that an aggrieved grandfather is taking legal action against a woman who posted accusations on Facebook that he had inappropriately touched his grandson.
Research and Resources
- “Serious Financial Loss and Defamation“, hill.Hofstetter website.
- Free Speech Paternalism and Free Speech Exceptionalism: Pervasive Distrust of Government and the Contemporary First Amendment , Ohio State Law Journal, Vol. 76, 2015, U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 26557000, Ronald J. Krotoszynski Jr, University of Alabama – School of Law
- Digital Memory & Informational Privacy: Reflecting on the EU’s Right to Be Forgotten , Ujwala Uppaluri , The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences
- The Expanding Scope of the Data Protection Directive: The Exception for a ‘Purely Personal or Household Activity’ ,University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 54/2015, Oliver Butler , University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law, Students
- Limitless Borderless Forgetfulness? Limiting the Geographical Reach of the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’, Dan Svantesson, Bond University – School of Law.
- The Structure of Modern Free Speech Doctrine: Strict Scrutiny: Intermediate Review, and ‘Reasonableness’ Balancing R. Randall Kelso, South Texas College of Law.
- Injunctions Contra Mundum: The Ultimate Weapon in Containment, (2014) 26 Intellectual Property Journal 289-314, Jeff Berryman, University of Windsor – Faculty of Law.
- In the Aftermath of Google Spain: How the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ is Being Shaped in Spain by Courts and the Data Protection Authority, International Journal of Law and Information Technology 2015; doi: 10.1093/ijlit/eav016, Miquel Peguera.
- Right to be Forgotten Europe’s Cutting Edge Weapon to fight Google?? Christopher J Lytras, University of Sussex
Next week in the courts
On Monday 5 October 2015, Warby J will hear an application in the contempt case of OPO v MLA.
On the same day, the trial of the former cricketer Chris Cairns on a charge of perverting the course of justice in the libel case of Cairns v Modi will begin at the Southwark Crown before Sweeney J and a jury. It is listed for 4 weeks.
On 6 October 2015, the CJEU will hand down judgment in the important data protection case of Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner.
On the same day there will be the hearing of an appeal from the Master in the case of Bates v Leeds United FC.
The following reserved judgment in media law cases are outstanding:
Pinard-Byrne v Linton, heard 22 April 2015 (Judicial Committee of the Privy Council).
Rahman v ARY Network Ltd, heard 1, 2 and 6 July 2015 (Haddon-Cave J).