The Guardian has reported that Sir Brian Leveson has been asked to advise on the holding of the second part of his inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press. He is being consulted on the question as to whether to press ahead with the second part of the inquiry, investigating corporate malpractice and the relationship between the media and the police.
In November 2016 the then Government launched a Consultation on Leveson Part 2 and the commencement of section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. Although the consultation closed on 10 January 2017 its result has not yet been announced – although in October 2017 the Culture Secretary said that the outcome would be announced “shortly”.
In an interview with the Competition and Markets Authority as part of its investigation into 21st Century Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky, former Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said that David Cameron may have done “some sort of deal” with Rupert Murdoch. The full transcript is here [pdf]. Zelo Street has a post entitled “Ken Clarke Seals Cameron’s Coffin”.
In his first interview since becoming Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett has said that judges are being put under “intolerable pressure” by social media users who criticise their decisions.
The Strasbourg Observers blog has a post about the Court of Human Rights’ admissibility decision in the case of Tamiz v United Kingdom.
The Press Gazette reports that Robert Norman, a prison officer who was sent to prison after his identity person who received payments was revealed to the police by Trinity Mirror is making an application to the Court of Human Rights.
Internet and Social Media
The Center for Internet and Society blog has a “Commentary: The FCC has always defended net neutrality. Why stop now?” On the same topic, The Guardian has a blog post by Emily Bell “Why we should be wary of ending net neutrality” and Michael Geist has a post “Net Neutrality Divide: Canada and US go separate ways on an Open Internet”.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
It is reported that hackers stole the personal information of 57 million Uber customers and drivers and that the company concealed the incident from the public for more than a year. The ICO blog has a statement on the data breach, stating that the ICO is working with relevant authorities to determine the scale of the breach. The Zelo Street blog has a post “Uber Data Breach Cover-Up EXPOSED”.
The Hawktalk blog has a post “Health and Social Work public bodies do not need to rely on data subject consent for the processing of personal data”.
The ICO has published an article on application for Binding Corporate Rules to comply with requirements under the GDPR. There is a post about this on the Privacy & Information Security Law Blog.
The ICO blog points out that nuisance call and spam text firms have been fined a total of £2 million so far this financial year.
Byline has a post about the Undercover Policing Inquiry: “Protests and Promises: Mitting’s first hearing as chair”.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The Press Gazette reports that Max Mosley has accused the Times of ‘fake news’ over a report which wrongly stated that his son committed suicide.
IPSO has cleared the Sun over a column which used the phrase “The Muslim Problem”. There is a report in the Press Gazette. There is also a post on Zelo Street.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court last week.
Last Week in the Courts
On 21 November 2017 Sir David Eady heard an application in the case of Kennedy v The National Trust for Scotland. Judgment was reserved. The issue was whether a claim arising out of a nude photo shoot at a National Trust property should be heard in England or Scotland. There were reports on the hearing on the BBC website, the Telegraph, the Mirror and the Press and Journal.
On 22 November 2017, Warby J handed down in judgment in the case of Candy v Holyoake (No.2)  EWHC 2943 (QB).
On 24 November 2017 Jay J handed down judgment in the case of Serafin v Malkiewicz  EWHC 2992 (QB) (heard 30-31 October and 1-3 and 6-9 November 2017). The claim was dismissed. We will post a case comment shortly.
2 December 2017, Media Democracy Festival, Clore Management Centre, Malet Street, London WC1
5 December 2017, The Family Court : Should privacy trump accountability?, The Station, Silver Street, Bristol, BS1 2AG
26 February 2018, “Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference,” Ottawa, 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 Chronicle reports that the libel claim by the Wagner family against the Spectator Australia has been settled. It is report that the magazine has paid Aus$572,674 to settle the claim.
On 29 November 2017 the Supreme Court will hear the appeal in the case of Haaretz.com v Goldhar. The appellant published on its Hebrew and English language websites an article criticizing Mr. Goldhar’s business practices. Mr. Goldhar brought a proceeding against the newspaper in Ontario alleging defamation. Haaretz moved to stay the proceeding, arguing that Ontario does not have jurisdiction or Israel is a clearly more appropriate forum. The motion judge held that Ontario had jurisdiction over the claim and that Israel was not a clearly more appropriate forum even though publication was much broader within Israel. A majority of the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the motion judge’s decision. The Factums (Skeletons) on the appeal can be found here. There is an article about the forthcoming appeal in the National Magazine.
The hearing of the libel action brought by Ryanair against the founders of the Ryanair Pilot Group continued in the High Court. There were reports on 19 November 21 November, 23 November and 24 November 2017. The trial continues before a judge and jury.
The Times of Malta reports that a former permanent secretary within the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs and his wife have won €4,000 in libel damages against l-orizzont over a series of articles featuring the couple published over a three-month span shortly after the 2013 general election.
In the case of Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association Incorporated v Brett  NZHC 2846 Palmer J awarded damages of NZ$100,000 to the second plaintiff who was the Chief Executive of the organisation responsible for regulating hot rods, sports and vintage cars. There was a news report of the judgment.
The New Zealand Privacy Commissioner wants to update the Privacy Act (1993) to introduce mandatory data breach disclosure laws and substantial fines.
Reuters reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on Saturday new measures allowing authorities to list foreign media outlets as “foreign agents”
It is reported that the Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by opposition politician Alexey Navalny against a defamation award in favour of billionaire Alisher Usmanov.
The Herald reports that pro–independence blogger Stuart Campbell has began libel proceedings against Labour politician Kezia Dugdale after she accused him of homophobia. There is also a report in the Scotsman.
The EFF reports that a federal judge has ruled that it need not obey an Australian injunction ordering EFF to take down a “Stupid Patent of the Month” blog post and never speak of the patent owner’s intellectual property again. The Court held that the injunction was repugnant to the First Amendment.
Sarah Palin has lodged an appeal against the decision of a Federal Judge dismissing her libel claim against the New York Times.
Research and Resources
- Full Court Press: Drawing in Media Defenses in Libel and Privacy Cases, Oregon Law Review, Forthcoming, Jeffrey Abramson, University of Texas at Austin.
- A Critical Assessment of the Relation of Information Freedom and the Protection of Personal Data in Today’s EU Law, University of Luxembourg Law Working Working Paper No. 2017-009, Herwig C.H. Hofmann, Universite du Luxembourg.
- Free Speech and Generally Applicable Laws: A New Doctrinal Synthesis, Iowa Law Review, Forthcoming, University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-32, Dan T. Coenen, University of Georgia Law School
Next Week in the Courts
On 28 November 2017 the defamation trial in Pannu v Carter will begin. It is listed for 2 days.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:
Washington-Carty v Fisher, heard 14 July 2017 (HHJ Moloney QC)
Mark Lewis Law v Taylor Hampton, heard 25-27 and 30-31 October 2017 (Moulder J).
Kennedy v The National Trust for Scotland, heard 21 November 2017 (Sir David Eady).
The Guardian also reported, “The judge [Sir Brian Leveson] has also been asked to consider responses to section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which has not been enacted but if introduced would force newspapers to cover the legal costs of the claimant in a libel case unless they joined an approved regulator and offered low-cost arbitration.”