The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Law and Media Round Up – 4 December 2017

Two data protection actions lead our round up this week.  First, the claimants in group litigation claim of against Morrisons Supermarket successfully established that the defendant was vicariously liable for a data leak (Various Claimants v W M Morrisons Supermarket plc [2017] EWHC 3113 (QB)). 

We had a post about this decision which was widely covered in the media, including the Guardian, the BBC, Sky News and the Independent.  There was also a post on the Register.

Secondly, it was announced that an “opt out” representative action had been commenced against Google on behalf of 5.4 million iPhone users.  This was also widely covered in the press including the Independent, the Guardian, BBC News and Sky News.

The Injunctions Blog has a short post on the decision in Ineos Upstream Ltd & Ors v Persons Unknown & Ors [2017] EWHC 2945 (Ch) in which Morgan J continued quia timet injunctions against anti-fracking protestors. The injunction covers trespass but not harassment. This was covered by the BBC, the Guardian and Channel 4 news.  The campaigners complained that it was an attack on the right to protest.

It has been announced that Katie Hopkins’ Mail Online contract has been ended “by mutual consent”. It has also been announced that the Mail Online has paid substantial damages to teacher Jackie Teale after a Katie Hopkins’ column wrongly stated that she had taken her class to a protest against Donald Trump.  Zelo Street links the two with a post entitled “Katie Hopkins Legal Sting in the Tail”.

On 30 November 2017 the Media Reform Coalition submitted its response [pdf] to the criticisms of its evidence and submissions to the 21st Century Fox/Sky merger inquiry.  There is a post about this on the MRC website.

The Press Gazette notes that the former chairman of Channel 4 Lord Terry Burns has been named as the next chairman of broadcast regulator Ofcom.

Internet and Social Media

Google’s general counsel has written a blog post arguing that two new cases over right-to-be-forgotten requests and pending before the European Union’s top court put the search-engine company at risk of “restricting access to lawful and valuable information.”

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The House of Lords will be debating an amendment to the U.K.’s data protection bill that would subject technology companies to “minimum standards of age-appropriate design” such as not revealing the GPS locations of users younger than 16.

The ICO has confirmed that the October 2016 UBER data breach affected 2.6 million user accounts in the UK. The Article 20 working party has established a taskforce on the UBER data breach case.  There is a post about this on the Privacy & Information Security law blog

The Hawtalk Blog discusses new clauses in the Data Protection Bill which will allow the Secretary of State to issue a “Framework for Data Processing”, initially for each Government Department.  This Framework has the status of statutory guidance and “will set out the manner in which government should process (personal) data”.  It is suggested that these clauses will undermine the ICO’s ability to enforce data protection rules across the public sector.

Max Schrems has set out up a non-profit organisation to help citizens take on the large internet companies.  The organisation is called NOYB (none of your business)


The Register notes the judgment in the case of R (Privacy International) v Secretary of State [2017] EWCA Civ 1868 entitled “UK spy court ruled immune from judicial review – for now”.

The Centre for Internet and Society has a post on the practical impact of the US Supreme Court case of Carpenter v US which concerns a right to privacy in a mobile phone subscriber’s location.

The Open Rights Group notes that the Home Office has conceded that independent authorisation is necessary for communications data requests.

Byline has a post entiled “Cambridge Analytica: Same big data, new Russia ties

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

In its annual report of the recognition system [pdf] the Press Recognition Panel called for the bringing into force of section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.  This is report about this in the Press Gazette.

The Guardian has a post by Article 19 Director Thomas Hughes, “Who will protect press freedom now?”.  A new Article 19 metric sets out to measure global threats to freedom of expression and information. There is a summary here.


IPSO has announced a revised version of its arbitration scheme (which has not yet had any takers).  Hacked Off described this as a “sham arbitration scheme”.  There was a story about this is Press Gazette.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

On 1 December 2017 there was a statement in open court in the case of Suresh v Samad before Warby J.

Last Week in the Courts

On 24 November 2017 the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland gave judgment in the case of Deaglan Arthurs v News Group Newspapers dismissing the claimant’s application for an interim injunction restraining publication of information about his father’s personal history.  There is a One Brick Court news item and reports in the Irish News and the Newsletter.

The defamation trial in Pannu v Carter was heard on 28 to 30 November 2017 by Sir David Eady   Judgment was reserved.

As already mentioned, on 1 December 2017, Langstaff J handed down judgment in the case of Various Claimants v W M Morrisons Supermarket plc [2017] EWHC 3113 (QB). There was a case comment on the 5RB website and one on the Panopticon Blog. 


5 December 2017,  The Family Court: Should privacy trump accountability?,  The Station, Silver Street, Bristol, BS1 2AG

6 December 2017, “How can lawyers defend media freedom in the world”, University of Law, 14 Store Street, London WC1e 7DE.

16 January 2018, “Various Claimants v W M Morrison Ltd: Opening the data breach floodgates?“, Turing Lecture Theatre, IET, London Savoy Place, Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL

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


In the case of Gair v Greenwood [2017] NSWSC 1652 McCallum J struck out various imputations in an action for defamation brought by two councillors against a local resident.

The Financial Review has a post entitled “How Rebel Wilson brought Bauer Media to knees in defamation case”.


On 29 November 2017 the Supreme Court heard the appeal in the “forum shopping” case of Goldhar v Haaretz.  There was news report on iPolitics.

Michael Geist’s blog has a post Canada’s Missing Internet Provision: Why NAFTA Offers the Chance to Establish Long Overdue Online Speech Safeguards

In the case of Vanderveen v Waterbridge Media Inc., 2017 CanLII 77435 the claimant recovered damages for invasion of privacy arising out of the use of a footage of her jogging in a commercial video.  There is a report of the decision on CBC News.


It is reported that the French coach, Didier Deschamps, has issued a libel claim against Eric Cantona over a 2016 Guardian interview.


The Supreme Court has heard a claim challenging the constitutionality of laws criminalising speech.  Judgment will be given in May 2018.


 The Irish Times reports that  the commission set up to investigate transactions involving Irish Banking Resolution Corporation (IBRC) has secured a High Court injunction, preventing The Sunday Business Post from publishing details of information given to it.

The trial of the libel claim by Ryanair against the founders of the Ryanair Pilot Group continues.  On day 13 a former Ryanair pilot told the High Court that the company “treated pilots like robots”.  The trial continues.


The Times of Malta reports that architect Ian Zammit was cleared of libel by the Superior Court of Appeal in respect of an article written in 1999.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir has welcomed changes made to Malta’s Media and Defamation Bill, but at the same time, encourages improvements in several fields.  The OSCE has produced an analysis of the Bill, prepared by Dr. Joan Barata Mir.

United States

On 5 December 2017 there will be hearing in a defamation claim involving President Trump’s alleged sexual harassment of a former contestant on the Apprentice. A judge will hear oral argument on President Trump’s motion to dismiss the claim.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts 

On Wednesday 6 December 2017 the trial in Ellis v Wigan Council will begin.  This is listed for 3 days.  Some of the background to the case can be found here.

On the same day the trial in the case of Williams v LB Croydon is also due to begin.  This is listed for 2 days. It is a claim in libel for damages for libel in respect of a reference. The claim was issued on 9 September 2016.  The Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel.


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

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

Kennedy v The National Trust for Scotland, heard 21 November 2017 (Sir David Eady).

Pannu v Carter, heard 28 to 30 November 2017 (Sir David Eady)

1 Comment

  1. daveyone1

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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