On Friday the Government announced that Sir Ian Burnett has been appointed as the new Lord Chief Justice, to replace the retiring Lord Thomas from the 2 October 2017.  He is 59 and will be the youngest Lord Chief Justice since 1958 – with the potential to be in post until 2028.

The arbitration scheme established by the recognised press regulator Impress has produced its first award.  Libel damages of £2,500 were awarded to journalist Dennis Rice against the Byline website.  Byline responded here. The Times had a report under the inaccurate headline “Website linked to Max Mosley penalised by his regulator” [£]: there was no “penalty by the regulator”, it was a damages award by an independent arbitrator. The IPSO arbitration scheme has not made a single award (or, as far as we know, dealt any cases at all).

We had a post about the continuing press coverage of Seamus Milne and the “mystery blonde”.  On Saturday the Daily Mail widened the attack to a bizarre attack on Doughty Street Chambers as a “de facto legal extension of the Corbyn machine”. This piece was dissected on the Zelo Street blog.

The Court of Appeal has overturned an order anonymising a Muslim school which segregates male and female pupils. Al Hijrah school in Birmingham has brought judicial review proceedings seeking to quash a decision by Ofsted to publish an inspection report into the school. The Daily Mail applied for the order lifting the gag. The story was reported by the Daily Mail, the Guardian, BBC News and Press Gazette.

The Guardian and the Times [£] ran a curious story last week about the service of an injunction on “persons unknown”, suggesting that it set a legal precedent.  In fact, this is a well established procedures and such injunctions have been granted in cases such as Brett Wilson LLP v Persons Unknown [2015] EWHC 2628 (QB) and Smith v Unknown Defendant [2016] EWHC 1775 (QB).  What is unusual (although again not unprecedented) in the case mentioned last week is that the unknown defendant served by email appears to have complied with the injunction.

Rupert Murdoch will not look to strike a deal with the culture secretary, Karen Bradley, to make Sky News more independent and fast-track his £11.7bn takeover of Sky. Damian Tambini on the LSE Media Policy Project blog has examined the deal.

The News Media Alliance, which represents nearly 2,000 news organisations in the US and Canada, is seeking permission from the US Congress for the right to negotiate jointly with Google and Facebook in order to fight fake news. Google and Facebook combined will account for 60% of the US digital advertising market this year,

Internet and Social Media

The Social Media Law Bulletin has examined the new German law on hate speech in social media, now that the bill has been passed into law.

The Brett Wilson Media Law Blog has considered some of the relevant legal causes of action related to WhatsApp.

Jennifer Beckett in the Hoot has commented that the media “dangerously misuses the word ‘trolling’.”

Social Media site Tumblr has revealed the account information of roughly 300 once-anonymous users to a revenge porn victim, after a Manhattan judge ordered it in June.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The ICO has published its annual report for 2016-2017

PWC Data Protection and Privacy Global Insights blog has summarised the important findings of the ICO’s guidance on big data, AI and machine learning.

The ICO has ruled that Virgin Trains East Coast did not break data protection law when it published CCTV footage of Jeremy Corbyn looking for a seat on a service from London. The ICO has published a blog post entitled When is a breach not a breach?, referring to the fact that the company did breach the law when it published images of other passengers on the same service. Panopticon and the Guardian also commented on the findings of the ICO.

Germany has updated its data protection laws to fit with the GDPR, becoming the first EU country to finalise its national legislation ahead of the new data protection regime taking effect.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s annual Who Has Your Back report has criticised Amazon and WhatsApp for ‘falling short over privacy.’


David Glance has argued that the Australian government’s plans to introduce new legislation forcing companies such as Google and Facebook to de-crypt messages in the name of fighting terrorism and other crimes will have serious implications for cyber-security. Facebook and Apple have said that they will resist these plans, as they already provide as much help as they can.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

Three recent reports published by Ofcom, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and the Oxford Internet Institute have provided some guidance on how to distinguish ‘fake news’ from real journalism.

Daniel Khalili-Tari in The London Economic has questioned whether ‘social homogeneity [is] ruining journalism.’

Zelo Street has published two blog posts entitled Murdoch Google Dirty Tricks and Skwawkbox – Sun Shafts Mail.

Rochdale Online website has won a legal payout from the Manchester Evening News after it used one of its stories without payment or attribution.


IPSO chairman Sir Alan Moses is to continue as head of the regulator until the end of 2019.

IPSO has ruled that Mail Online breached the privacy of Prince Harry with an article which showed him pictured in his swimming trunks whilst on holiday with girlfriend Meghan Markle.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

There were no statements in open court last week.

The Sun has delivered a personal apology to Nicole Miller after falsely alleging that she had a secret relationship with footballer Raheem Sterling. The Sun has also agreed to pay legal costs and compensation.

Last week in the Courts

On 14 July 2017 HHJ Moloney QC heard an assessment of damages in the case of Washington-Carty v Fisher.  Judgment was reserved.


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


A controversial Albanian judge has made efforts to inflict fines for “moral damages” of €83k on media outlets and journalists who reported on his wealth and his status as a target in a corruption investigation.


The Newcastle Herald has published an article saying that New South Wales defamation law is “snaring ordinary people.”

Cambodian philanthropist Geraldine Cox has filed a defamation claim against a Canberra law student after they posted a Facebook comment which was critical of her work.

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Feldman has filed a defamation claim against the publisher of the Australian Jewish News over three articles printed during a Royal Commission investigation of “Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.”


In the case of John v. Ballingall, 2017 ONCA 579 the Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed an appeal against an order striking out a libel claim for non-compliance with the statutory notice and limitation periods.

Michael Geist has commented on ‘what lies behind Canada’s net neutrality success.’


The Supreme Court will hear further submissions next week on whether a defamation action against the ‘Sunday World’, in which a man was awarded €900,000, should go for a retrial.

A councillor and a former councillor have been awarded €20,000 each after the High Court found they had been defamed in a press release issued by their local authority.


The High Court has given the Presbyterian Church of East Africa 45 days to pay a church elder Sh5.5 million.

Businessman Nicholas Biwott has received the highest defamation award in Kenyan history.


The Court of Appeal has cut by half to RM150,000 the damages awarded to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who earlier this year won a defamation suit against an Umno-linked publication.


Former Finance Minister Tonio Fenech has been awarded a total of €4,000 in damages in two libel cases.

A court has upheld a request made by Daphne Caruana Galizia to preserve mobile phone data, relating to allegations that a Cabinet minister, Chris Cardona, visited a German brothel whilst on official duty in Germany.


A mailroom clerk has lost a defamation case over what was said in a closed-door meeting.

Trinidad and Tobago

The Court of Appeal in Port of Spain has dismissed an appeal filed by former political leader of the Congress of the People, Prakash Ramadhar who had challenged a ruling handed down against him by a High Court judge in 2015.

United States

A Derry priest has been granted permission to sue an American Catholic Diocese for defamation.

Ryanair has taken two further actions against people in the US who posted threats against the airline on Twitter in 2016.

The legal team representing the New York Times in its defamation case against Sarah Palin have called the publication of the editorial in question an “honest mistake.”

Inside Sources has argued that ABC’s settlement does not “come close to addressing impact of “pink slime” story.”

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 18 July 2017 the trial in the case of Singh v Weayou will begin before Nicola Davies J [Update]

On 19 July 2017 the Supreme Court will hand down judgment in the case of PNM v Times Newspapers, (heard 17 and 18 January 2017)

On 19 July 2017 the trial the libel, slander and malicious falsehood case of David v Hosany, will begin.  The case is listed for 4 days.  The Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel [£]

On 21 July 2017 HHJ Moloney QC will hand down judgment in Lisle-Mainwaring v Associated Newspapers (heard 12 December 2016)


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).

R (News Media Association) v Press Recognition Panel. 29 and 30 June 2017 (Rafferty LJ and Popplewell J).

Washington-Carty v Fisher, heard 14 July 2017 (HHJ Moloney QC)