This is the last full week of the Trinity Legal Term and this is the last Round Up of the 2016-2017 legal year. We will provide updates from time to time and resume full Weekly Round Ups when the Michaelmas Term begins on 2 October 2017.
The last two weeks of the legal term are traditionally the time for handing down long awaited reserved judgments. Judgment in the longest outstanding Supreme Court case – PNM v Times Newspapers (heard on 17 and 18 January 2017) – was handed down on 19 July 2017, with the appeal being dismissed by a majority of 5:2.
We had a news item about the judgment and a discussion of the dissenting judgments by Paul Wragg. There was a post about the case on the UK Human Rights Blog. The case was also covered by the successful defendants, the Times [£] and the Oxford Mail. There were also reports in the Press Gazette and the Guardian.
For other outstanding reserved judgments see the list at the end of this post. These include the long-awaited judgment of the Court of Appeal in Lachaux v Independent Print which was heard in December 2016.
The biggest media story of the week was the forced disclosure by the BBC of the salaries paid to presenters and journalists. In a post on Inforrm Steve Barnett argued that this was a deliberate attempt to undermine the BBC by its political and media enemies. The Guardian examined the key questions behind the disclosure of salaries and Zelo Street published a blog post entitled BBC Pay Mail Hypocrisy. Lexology has questioned whether the disclosure of these salaries could mean that some of the BBC’s stars could be poached by other channels.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has said that she may still refer Rupert Murdoch’s Sky bid to the Competition and Markets Authority for a fuller investigation on the grounds of media plurality. Zelo Street has also published a blog post on the subject entitled Sky – Murdoch Bullies Tories.
Internet and Social Media
Himsworths legal has examined the question of what happens to your online accounts if you die.
The Hoot has published an article entitled Trolling ourselves to death in the age of Trump.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The French Conseil d’Etat has referred the issue as to whether a “delisting” request requires Google to remove links on non EU versions of search to the CJEU.
The Irish Times has examined the question of class actions under the GDPR.
Cearta.ie has looked at the meaning of Article 82(1) of the GDPR in each of the EU’s 24 official languages.
A new opinion from the advocate general of the Court of Justice of the European Union has stated that a student’s exam script should be considered personal data.
Hawktalk has said that the recent ruling by the ICO on the Royal Free has exposed the ICO’s weaknesses.
The ICO has warned employees about the potential consequences of illegally sharing personal data that they have access to as part of their job.
Christopher Kuner in the LSE Business Review has argued that regulation of the Internet has proved a vehicle through which the EU can assert itself on the world stage.
The German parliament has passed a bill that awards extensive surveillance powers to law enforcement authorities.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
IPSO has ruled that the Sun breached the Editors’ Code of Practice with a report about the death of a prison inmate which was not handled sensitively enough. The paper must now publish a correction and apology.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were two statements in open court last week.
On 19 July 2107, there was a statement in open court in the case of Berylson v Norris before HHJ Moloney QC. There was a news report about the case in the Guardian.
On 21 July 2017 there was a statement in open court in the case of Putron v News Group before Sir David Eady.
Last week in the Courts
The trial in the case of Singh v Weayou took place before Nicola Davies J on 18 to 20 July 2017. Judgment was reserved.
As already mentioned, on 19 July 2017 the Supreme Court handed down judgment in the case of Khuja (formerly known as PNM) v Times Newspapers  UKSC 49.
The trial the libel, slander and malicious falsehood case of David v Hosany began on 20 July 2017 before HHJ Moloney QC. It continued on 21 July 2017 and is part heard.
On 20 July 2017 in the case of Rochester v White, Popplewell J refused to extend the limitation period in a libel action. An ex tempore judgment was given. A summary is available on Lawtel [£]
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
Businessman and former MP Clive Palmer is back in court in his defamation case against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
A Canberra law student has been ordered to pay the legal costs of Cambodian philanthropist Geraldine Cox after her defamation defence was struck out in court.
In John v. Ballingall the Court of Appeal for Ontario has confirmed that an online newspaper still counts as a “newspaper.”
The number of internet shutdowns in India has risen from 8 in January-July 2016 to 23 in 2017.
The Supreme Court heard arguments on 19 July 2017 about whether the case of the man falsely described as the “Traveller Drug King” should be retried before a jury or whether the Supreme Court itself should assess damages.
The Supreme Court is to assess damages in the defamation claim brought by former Moravian Minister Dr Canute Thompson against rights advocate, Latoya Nugent.
Manfred Weber, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, has expressed his concern after the chief of staff for the Prime Minister filed a criminal libel complaint against the leader of the opposition, Simon Busuttil.
A court has ordered the arrest of the Russian woman at the centre of the Egrant allegations, after she repeatedly failed to appear for court sittings in which she is charged with making false reports against police officers.
A landmark Facebook defamation case has come to an end after six years.
Ex-Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav has been ordered to pay N10m as damages to Governor Samuel Ortom’s aide, Mr. Abrahams Kwaghngu, for libel.
Actor James Woods has settled a defamation claim over a Tweet calling him a “cocaine addict”.
A teacher convicted of having sex with a person under the legal age of consent in California has filed a defamation claim against the student she slept with.
Research and Resources
- Freedom of Expression and the Right to Reputation: Human Rights in Conflict, This is an Accepted Manuscript version of an article published in American University International Law Review (2011), 183-236. Available online under a Digital Commons License, Stijn Smet, Melbourne Law School.
- Revisiting the Limits on Judicial Expression in the Digital Age: Striving Towards Proportionally in the Cyberintimidation Context, National Journal of Constitutional Law, 2018, Forthcoming, Karen Eltisand Yigal Mersel, University of Ottawa – Faculty of Law; Affiliate- CITP Princeton and The Jerusalem District Court
- Free Speech, Higher Education, and the PC Narrative,101 Minnesota L.Rev. 1987 (2017), Heidi Kitrosser, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities – School of Law.
- Are All Prior Restraints Equal? The Constitutionality of Gag Orders Issued under the Stored Communications Act, Forthcoming, Yale Journal of Law & Technology, Al-Amyn Sumar, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP.
- Law as an Ally or Enemy in the War on Cyberbullying: Exploring the Contested Terrain of Privacy and Other Legal Concepts in the Age of Technology and Social Media, 66 UNB LJ 3-50, Wayne MacKay, Dalhousie University – Schulich School of Law
Next Week in the Courts
The only media law case we are aware of is the trial in the case of David v Hosany which will continue on 24 July 2017 before HHJ Moloney QC.
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)
Singh v Weayou heard 18 to 20 July 2017 (Nicola Davies J).