The Easter Legal Term began on Tuesday 25 April and ends on 26 May 2017. This is the first Law and Media Round Up of the new term. We had a short preview of the term yesterday.
There were a number of developments in the last few days of the Hilary Term, most notably the Supreme Court’s dismissal of three press appeals against the award of CFA success fees and ATE premiums. Our posts included a case comment from Aidan Wills.
The Daily Mail is to pay first lady Melania Trump damages and legal costs under $3 million to settle a libel claim after the paper alleged that she ‘provided services beyond simply modelling.’ A retraction and apology will also be published in the Daily Mail and on its website.
Anti-racism advocacy group Hope not Hate has filed a libel claim against Nigel Farage after he alleged that it makes use of “violence” in its campaigning.
Forty four individuals, including celebrities such as actor Patsy Kensit and Lord Jeffrey Archer, have settled their phone-hacking claims against Mirror Group Newspapers. The damages are undisclosed.
The Court of Human Rights has delivered judgment in the case of Orloskaya iskra v. Russia, which concerned the use of electoral laws to curb or restrict media reporting at election time. Regional newspaper Orlovskaya iskra had been convicted for an administrative offence after publishing critical articles about a politician during the 2007 parliamentary election campaign. The court found that reporting in media during election campaign must be free from content restrictions. There is a case comment about the case on the Strasbourg Observers blog argued that this an important judgement for freedom of expression.
Internet and Social Media
A German court has ruled that Facebook is still not allowed to use personal data of German WhatsApp users.
The German Justice Ministry has introduced a draft law that would impose fines of up to €50 million on social media companies that fail to remove hate speech and other illegal content from their platforms quickly.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
In a judgment dated 24 February 2017 the Dutch Supreme Court has followed the Google Spain judgement regarding the right to be forgotten. The Media Report blog criticises the decision as a “missed opportunity.”
Peep Beep has examined the new draft guidelines on conducting data protection impact assessments published by the Article 29 Working Party.
The FieldFisher Privacy, Security and Information Law blog has questioned if the German Implementation Act undermines the GDPR. The new Act includes specific requirements that deviate from the GDPR in some respects, including with respect to the appointment of a Data Protection Officer and the processing of employee personal data.
Motherboard has reported that an officer with the London met police has purchased software that case intercept calls remotely turn on microphones, and take photos with an infected device’s camera.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Press Gang has published a post entitled Private Eye: A Stab in the Back.
Royal Charter-backed press regulator Impress has launched its own standards code with new rules covering attribution, incitement of hatred, sources and financial transparency.
A police officer who complained to IPSO about several articles in the Croydon Advertiser which he claimed set out to discredit him, has had his complaint upheld. However, the press regulator has ruled that the paper has taken sufficient action already by correcting the relevant articles.
IPSO has rejected a man’s complaint after the Times approached him for comment following the death of his friend. They judged that a private letter of apology sent to him by a Times journalist was sufficient to remedy his complaint.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court this week.
The Sun has published an apology to footballer Ross Barkley over a column by Kelvin MacKenzie in which he compared the midfielder to a gorilla.
Last week in the Courts
On 12 April 2017 the Court of Appeal granted the defendant’s application for permission to appeal in the case of Brevan Howard Asset Management v Reuters. At present the case has a hear by date of 10 July 2018.
We are not aware of any media law cases in the courts last week.
Please let us know if there are any media and law events which you would like us to list.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Actor Rebel Wilson has filed a defamation claim against Bauer Media over a series of magazine articles that she says cost her roles by painting her as a serial liar.
In the case of Nationwide News Pty Ltd v Weatherup  QCA 70 the Queensland Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the “Australian” newspaper in a defamation case involving former Townsville Bulletin journalist Malcolm Weatherup. The newspaper has been engaged in a three year battle with its former employee after Weatherup filed a defamation claim over an article published about him. He alleged that referring to him as ‘always under the Weatherup’ conveyed the imputation that he was habitually drunk at work and that he had been sacked because of it.
Former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella has filed a defamation claim against a regional Victoria newspaper over comments made about her during the 2016 federal election.
Criminal libel proceedings have been discontinued against a lawyer, Maria Dixon, in magistrate’s court.
In the case of Weaver v. Corcoran, 2017 BCCA 160 the British Columbia Court of Appeal ordered a new trial in a seven year old defamation case involving British Columbia Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and the National Post. There was a report of the judgment in the Times Colonist.
In the case of Alexis v. Drury, 2017 BCSC 674 Williams J dismissed a claim for defamation arising out of a dispute among members of the Tl’azt’en First Nation Band. The defence of qualified privilege was successful.
Tina English in the Irish Legal News has examined that case where a woman claimed that she had been defamed when a Dublin bus driver called her a “f**king skankhole” on board a bus. She has said that it is another example where ‘vulgar language used as reprimand does not amount to defamation.’
The Office of the Prime Minister chief of staff Keith Schembri has filed a libel claim against blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia after allegations made by the blogger that he received huge amounts of money from a bank account belonging to a company owned by people linked to politics in Azerbaijan.
The Court has refused the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s request to hear his own libel case against Caruana Galizia urgently, because it is it is “tied up with several other cases.”
The High Court in Auckland has ruled that excessive defamation damages of $1.27 against former Conservative leader Colin Craig constitute a miscarriage of justice.
Barry Soper in the New Zealand Herald has said that his defamation case against the Hagaman family of Christchurch does Andrew Little “no credit” and is proof of how “bloody minded” he is.
The defamation case against Green MSP Andy Wightman, filed by Wildcat Haven Enterprises, has begun in the Court of Session.
Trinidad and Tobago
Former radio host Ricardo “Gladiator” Welch has been awarded TT$700,000 plus interest in damages after a High Court judge ruled that three of his colleagues defamed him.
Musician Blake Shelton has accepted a settlement in his libel case against In Touch magazine, over its October 2015 its cover story, “REHAB For Blake.”
Yelp reviewers who criticised San Diego dentist have been threatened with libel action, but the dentist has said that he is not involved in it.
Buzzfeed has lost a New York legal bid to force Press Gazette to disclose confidential journalistic information under the 1970 Hague Convention.
Research and Resources
- Fake News: A Legal Perspective, Journal of Internet Law (Apr. 2017), David O. Kleinand Joshua R. Wueller, Klein Moynihan Turco LLP
- The Impact of Internet Intermediary Liability, Craig S Wright
- Revisiting the Open Court Principle in an Era of Online Publication: Questioning Presumptive Public Access to Parties’ and Witnesses’ Personal Information, Ottawa Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2017, Jane Baileyand Jacquelyn Burkell, University of Ottawa – Common Law Section and University of Western Ontario
- Prioritizing Privacy in the Courts and Beyond , Cornell Law Review, Vol. 103 (Forthcoming), Babette Boliek, Pepperdine University School of Law
- Data Privacy and Dignitary Privacy: Google Spain, the Right to Be Forgotten, and the Construction of the Public Sphere, Duke Law Journal, Forthcoming, Yale Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 598, Robert Post, Yale Law School
- Protecting your personal devices, Matthew Hunn, Schillings
Next Week in the Courts
On Tuesday 2 May 2017 Dingemans J will begin hearing the trial in Guise v Shah, a 5 day libel, harassment and data protection trial. The claim form and particulars of claim are available on Lawtel [£]
On Wednesday 3 May 2017 there is a 3 day trial in the case of Sooban v Badal.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:
Mionis v Democratic Press heard 27 October 2016 (Gloster, Sharp and Lindblom LJJ).
Lachaux v Independent Print, heard 29 and 30 November and 1 December 2016 (Macfarlane, Davis and Sharp LJJ).
Lisle-Mainwaring v Associated Newspapers heard 12 December 2016 (HHJ Moloney QC).
PNM v Times Newspapers, heard 17 and 18 January 2017 (UK Supreme Court)
This Round Up was compiled by Georgia Tomlinson who is a researcher.