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Law and Media Round Up – 22 May 2017

This was the week in which the party general election manifestos were published.  Perhaps unsurprisingly there were sharp differences on press regulation and Leveson. The Labour Manifesto [pdf] promised to implement the recommendations of Part One of the Leveson Inquiry and to commence Part Two. 

The Liberal Democrats made a similar commitment, noting the failure of the press to engage in effective self-regulation. There is a piece about this manifesto in the Press Gazette

In contrast, the Conservative Party manifesto [pdf] says that the Conservatives will not proceed with Leveson and will repeal section 4 of the Crime and Courts Act.  This position was described by Hacked Off as a “wholesale betrayal both of victims of press abuse and ordinary members of the public”.  The actor Hugh Grant accused the Prime Minister of “extraordinary treachery” for abandoning Conservative government promises on press regulation.

The Society of Editors welcomed the Conservative decision to adopt the press’ own position on these issues rather than that of the previous Conservative Prime Minister. There was no press comment on the surprising U-turn by Theresa May who voted for section 40 in 2013 and was one of those responsible for establishing the Leveson Inquiry with Terms of Reference in two parts.

There is a discussion of the digital policy proposals in the three main party manifestos on the Panopticon Blog.  Computer Weekly has summarised the “digital pledges” of the parties.

Paul Bernal has a post about the Conservative manifesto proposals for digital policy which he describes as “deeply disturbing”.  The Zelo Street blog does not pull its punches in a post entitled “Tory Internet Regulation Hypocrisy”.

A Statement in Open Court was read on 17 May 2017) on behalf of Ms Elizabeth Hurley following her settlement with Trinity Mirror, which includes an apology and damages for phone hacking.  Ms Hurley said that she will donate her damages to the Hacked Off Campaign.  Hacked Off released a statement thanking her for her generous donation.  There was a report in the Press Gazette.

Internet and Social Media

The recent worldwide “ransomware” attack has produced a number of advice pieces:

The Tech Blogger who halted the spread of the ransomware attack has complained that “super invasive” British tabloids have intruded into his personal life, published false details about him, stalked his friends and published his address, forcing him to move house.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The French data protection regulator CNIL has fined Facebook Inc and Facebook Ireland Ltd €150,000 for six breaches of French data protection law including including collecting information on users for advertising “without having a legal basis”,  There is a post about the decision on the Privacy Europe blog.

The blog has a post about the General Scheme of the Irish Data Protection Bill to ensure GDPR compliance.

A post on the Information Law and Policy Blog discusses the event at the Bingham Centre considering the challenges and future of mass data retention in the United Kingdom after the Watson case.

The Information Commissioner has opened a formal investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes.  There was a report about this inquiry in the Guardian.

The Panopticon Blog has an interesting post on “medical privacy” dealing with the case of ABC v St George’s Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (2017) EWCA Civ 336 which concludes that clinicians treating a patient with Huntingdon’s disease have an arguable duty to disclose the diagnosis to the patient’s daughters.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Press Gazette has a report about newspaper website ABC monthly browsing figures – which, for national newspapers, range from 15 million a month for MailOnline, to 940,000 for the Daily Star.

The Press Gazette reports how the Press Association was duped by students with a fake video story about writing an essay in a nightclub.


The Daily Telegraph has been censured by IPSO for republishing a significantly misleading 2009 front page which implicated Gordon Brown in abuse of Parliamentary expenses (00294-17 Brown v Daily Telegraph).  There was a report in the Press Gazette.

Complaints against the Sun and the Mirror on behalf of convicted murder Levi Bellfield have been rejected (13430-16 Turner v Daily Mirror).  There was a report in the Press Gazette.

A complaint against the Enfield Gazette and Advertiser by road safety campaigner Paul Mandel was dismissed by IPSO (01071-17 Mandel v Enfield Gazette & Advertiser).  There was a report in the Press Gazette.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

As already mentioned on 17 May 2017 there was a statement in open court before Mann J in the case of Hurley v MGN.

Last week in the Courts

The trial in the case of Collier v Openwork Ltd due to be heard by Dingemans J on 15 May 2017 settled.

On 15 May 2017, in Liverpool, Turner J heard the libel claim of TESS (Timeshare Exit and Support Services) Limited v Timeshare Association and Committees Limited. The defendant did not appear at the trial.  The judge awarded general damages of £75,000 and special damages of £100,000.  There was a news report of the case on the 5RB website.

On 16 May 2017, an application for permission to appeal and a stay in the case of Lokhova v Tymula was adjourned.

On 17 May 2017, there was a PTR in the Mirror Phone Hacking Litigation before Mann J.

On 17 May 2017 Sir Michael Tugendhat heard an application for summary judgment by the defendants in the case of Ahmed v Express Newspapers. The claim was dismissed because the claimant, who an unrelated 2014 conviction, had not suffered serious harm to his already bad reputation. There was a report of the judgment on Lawtel [£].  There was 5RB case report and a news report.


6 July 2017, “The Legal Challenges of Social Media,” Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR

26 February 2018, “Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference,” Ottowa, Canada.

Please let us know if there are any media and law events which you would like us to list. 

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


On Friday 19 May 2017, the Supreme Court in Victoria heard pre-trial applications in the case brought by Rebel Wilson against Bauer Media.  The trial begins on Monday.  There was a news report in the Guardian.


The District Court in Hamburg has rejected a claim for an injunction from right wing politician Alice Weidel against a TV station in relation to a satirical TV show in which she had been called a “Nazi sl*t”.  There was a post about the decision on the IPKat blog


The Hindustan Times has a story about the WhatsApp-Facebook case in the Supreme Court which will determine the way in which data privacy will be safeguarded in the future.


The New York Times reports that an Italian member of the European Parliament has been found guilty of defamation and ordered to pay €50,000 to a fellow MEP after he was accused of racially insulting her during a radio interview.


Techdirt has a post about the action brought by the Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, against Matthew Caruana over a story concerning the Panama Papers.

The Court of Appeal has confirmed an award of €3,000 to Julia Farrugia against Daphne Caruana Galizia.

New Zealand

The trial of the libel claim by the former Conservative leader Colin Craig against the blogger Cameron Slater, Whaleoil, continues.  The NZ Herald has a story about the case entitled “Colin Craig v Cameron Slater libel case: The downfall  of a political party

Northern Ireland

The Belfast Telegraph reports that two barristers have been given leave to bring a judicial review of the decision by the Legal Services Agency to name the top 100 legal aid earners in Northern Ireland.

United States

Blog Law Online has a post dealing with the question “Is journalism harassment?”

It is reported that the four sisters of Josh Duggar who were revealed to have told police that they’d been molested by their older brother are suing the city of Springdale and Washington County, Arkansas, and publishers of the magazine that first revealed their identities.

The Volokh Conspiracy column in the Washington Post draws attention to more apparently fake defendant libel claims which appear to be aimed at removing material from Google.

Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska has brought a libel claim in federal court in Washington, claiming he was defamed by a March AP story reporting about business dealings between him and Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The Independent reports that model Dani Mathers has been charged with a criminal invasion of privacy after secretly Snapchatting a photograph of a naked woman at the gym.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 23 May 2017 there will be an application in the case of Anglia Research Services Ltd & Anor v Finders Genealogists Ltd & Anor.  We are not aware of any other media and law hearings this week.


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)

Guise v Shah, heard 2-3, 5, 8 and 11 May 2017 (Dingemans J)


1 Comment

  1. daveyone1

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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