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Law and Media Round Up – 30 October 2017 [Updated]

The House of Lords begins the Committee Stage of the Data Protection Bill on 30 October 2017.  Day 2 will be a week on Monday.  There are thirty two pages of amendments [pdf].

The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have an amendment (no.4) to introduce a general right to protection of personal data.  This has been attacked by the Government on the basis that it would “allow terror suspects to inspect their own police files”.

On 26 October 2017 the Daily Telegraph has corrected a front-page story headlined: “Student forces Cambridge to drop white authors”.  The correction on page 2 (which related to a front page article” said

“An Oct 25 article incorrectly stated that under proposals by academic staff in response to an open letter from students on ‘decolonising’ its English Faculty, Cambridge University will be forced to replace white authors with black writers.The proposals were in fact recommendations. Neither they nor the open letter called for the University to replace white authors with black ones and there are no plans to do so.”

The student, Lola Olufemi, accused the Telegraph of a “very targeted form of harassment”.

The Cyberleagle blog has a comprehensive, 8,500 thousand word, post entitled “Towards a filtered internet: the European Commission’s automated prior restraint machine” on the recent EU Communication Tackling Illegal Content Online.  deals with the issues

The trial in the case of Mark Lewis Law Ltd v Taylor Hampton Ltd began this week before Moulder J.  The Law Society Gazette had reports on the evidence of Mr Lewis and Mr Taylor.  The trial continues this week.

There have been reports of two new large scale data breaches this week – on the Bermuda based law firm, Appleby and on the London Bridge Plastic Surgery clinic.

Internet and Social Media

The Register reports that a number of internet registries are refusing to offer a Whois service because of concerns that it will infringe the provisions of the GDP.  This has led to legal disputes with ICANN which requires registries to provide this service.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

On 24 October 2017, the Advocate General’s Opinion in the case of Unabhängiges Landeszentrum für Datenschutz Schleswig-Holstein v. Wirtschaftsakademie Schleswig-Holstein GmbH (Case C-210/16) was published.  He expressed the view that the supervisory authority of the Member State in which the establishment of the controller is located is entitled to exercise its powers of intervention against that controller autonomously and without being required first to call on the supervisory authority of the Member State in which the controller is located to exercise its powers.  This means that data protection of Facebook’s business would not be exclusively limited to the Irish Data Protection Commissioner.

The ICO has warned the Conservative Party that certain parts of calls made in the election campaign crossed the line from market research to unlawful direct marketing.

The ICO has warned NHS workers about the consequences of snooping into patients’ medical records after an NHS administrator was fined for repeatedly accessing a patient’s medical records without a valid legal reason.

The Article 29 Working Party has written to WhatsApp [pdf] reasserting concerns about the processing of personal data.  There is a report in the Register.

Privacy International has a briefing on the Data Protection Bill [pdf].


There was an article on Byline concerning the Undercover Policing Inquiry suggesting that the new chair, Sir John Mitting, was under pressure from Core Participants.

The Transparency Project has a post about the judgment in Re B (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ 1579 last week. In it they consider (but do not resolve) the question of how the Family Court should deal with evidence obtained by covert recording

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Media Reform Coalition has put in a submission [pdf] to the Competition and Markets Authority about the proposed Sky takeover presenting interim findings showing that News UK brands (Times, Sunday Times and Sun) play a lead role in shaping the wider news agenda.  The submission is summarised in a post here.

The Zelo Street blog has posts entitled “Sun MP Sex Pest Story Problem” and “Commons Sex Pests – Is that All?”

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

There were no statements in open court last week.

Last Week in the Courts

On 24 October 2017 Mann J handed down judgment in the case of Various Claimants v MGN Ltd.  Three claimants in phone hacking proceedings were permitted to amend their claim against the defendants to plead fraudulent concealment against its Board and legal department.  There was a report about the case on Byline.

On the same day there was an application in the case of Optical Express Ltd & ors v Associated Newspapers Ltd before Warby J.  Judgment was reserved. There was also a costs hearing in the case of Decker v Hopcraft before Sir David Eady.


6 November 2017 Freedom of Speech: Where Journalism and the Law Collide at the Boundary of 21st Century Debate, Long Hub Room Trinity College, Dublin (see also Eoin O’Dell’s post).

2 December 2017, Media Democracy Festival, Clore Management Centre, Malet Street, London WC1

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


The trial in the libel case brought by cricketer Chris Gayle against Fairfax newspapers in the New South Wales Supreme Court has been taking place this week.  Mr Gayle alleges January 2016 articles falsely claimed he intentionally exposed his genitals to, and indecently propositioned, massage therapist Leanne Russell in the West Indies dressing room during a Sydney training session at the 2015 World Cup.  Mr Gayle and his teammate Dwayne Smith gave evidence as did Ms Russell. There were reports in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Guardian.  McCallum J is expected to give directions to the four person jury on 30 October 2017.

[Update]  The jury were sent out on 30 October 2017.   They were asked to consider three questions

(1) whether Mr Gayle “intentionally exposed” his genitals to Ms Russell in the West Indies team dressing room during a training session for the 2015 World Cup.

(2) Whether Mr Gayle indecently propositioned Ms Russell that day,

(3) whether Mr Gayle “exposed himself” to Ms Russell.

After two hours deliberation they answered “no” to all three questions. The jury also found that Fairfax was motivated by malice in publishing the articles. Damages will be considered on 31 October 2017.  There are reports of the decision in the Sydney Morning Herald, on the BBC website and in the Guardian.

Former Sydney deputy mayor Salim Mehajer is threatening to sue a number of prominent media outlets in Australia’s ‘largest defamation case’. The 31-year-old property developer is seeking an extraordinary $103million in damages.


The CBC reports that lawyers acting for Patrick Brown, the Conservative Leader, have dismissed a libel notice from Premier Kathleen Wynne saying that his statements were not defamatory.


The Editors Guild of India has urged the Supreme Court to review its 2016 judgment upholding the criminal defamation law as it was allegedly being misused to intimidate the media


On 25 October 2017 a Contempt of Court Bill [pdf] was published.  This provides for powers to direct the removal of material which creates a substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice from websites (clause 6).  The Irish Independent has an article about this entitled “Facebook and Twitter face unlimited fines in bid to stop ‘trial by social media’ risk”.

The Sunday Times reports that two Belfast-based solicitors who co-authored a report on media ownership in Ireland are suing businessman Denis O’Brien and James Morrissey, his press adviser, for defamation


Former President Joyce Banda has won a libel action against the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation over an allegation that she masterminded the death of former President Mutharika.


The family of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have attended court at the hearing of a libel against her by Government minister Chris Cardona.  Meanwhile the Governmnet has offered a reward of €1 million for anyone who provides information about her murder.

The Times of Malta reports that politician Victor Scerri was awarded €6,000 libel damages after the Labour Party, One TV and claimed he had punched a football player in October 2014.

Northern Ireland

The Belfast Telegraph and the Newsletter report that a teacher has won a meaning ruling in an landmark libel action against Facebook over postings alleging a failure to safeguard pupils at a Belfast secondary school.

A privacy action against the BBC by two Rugby players has been adjourned to 2018 pending the conclusion of criminal proceedings.

United States

It is reported that former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Friday filed a defamation claim against former New Jersey state legislator Michael Panter, following a Facebook post on Tuesday in which Panter detailed alleged sexual harassment by O’Reilly against an unnamed ex-partner of Panter’s.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts 

On 30 October 2017 the trial in Serafin v Malkiewicz will begin before Jay J. This case is listed for 10 days. It is a claim for libel and misuse of private information arising out of publication in a Polish language magazine.  The claim was issued on 13 January 2016. The Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel.

The trial in the case of Mark Lewis Law Ltd v Taylor Hampton Ltd continues before Moulder J.


The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:

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

David v Hosany, heard 20, 21 and 24 July 2017 (HHJ Moloney QC)

Brown v Bower, heard 17 October 2017 (Nicklin J).

Soobhan v Bandal, heard 18 to 20 October 2017 (Nicklin J).

Optical Express Ltd & ors v Associated Newspapers Ltd, heard 24 October 2017 (Warby J)


1 Comment

  1. daveyone1

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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