Law and Media Round Up – 11 December 2017

11 12 2017

On Sunday it was announced that the notorious publicist Max Clifford died in hospital after collapsing in his cell.  He had been sentenced to 8 years imprisonment in May 2014 after being convicted of eight offences of indecent assault.

His appeal against that sentence was dismissed in October 2014.  The Guardian, the BBC and the Times [£] have obituaries.  Simon Hattenstone’s 2014 piece “Max Clifford: the rise and fall of the UK’s king of spin” has a longer discussion of Mr Clifford’s background and personality.

Mr Clifford played an important role in the abusive excesses of the British tabloid press over two decades. He placed many “kiss and tell” stories – although these were often wholly or partly invented.  He also made many imaginative claims about the individuals he had represented and the stories he had placed or stopped.

The new Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, gave his first press conference [pdf] on 5 December 2017.  He mentioned that judges face a “torrent of personal abuse” for their decisions, increasingly on social media.  There was a report of the press conference in the Guardian.

 Internet and Social Media

The Center for Internet and Society blog has a post entitled “Net Neutrality – Privacy Silver Bullet, or Can of Worms?”

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Government has backed down on amendments to the Data Protection Bill intended to subject websites and apps to a tough code of practice to protect children’s privacy online.

The Article 29 Working Party held its November plenary meeting, which involved examination of certain critical matters relating to the implementation of the GDPR and the Privacy shield.  There is a post about this on the Privacy and Information Security Law Blog.

The Centre for Information Policy Leadership has submitted comments to the Article 29 Working Party on

 The ICO Blog has a post about guilty verdicts in a trial against a company and rogue private investigators.

The Social Media Law Bulletin has a post entitled “Who is responsible for fan sites?” concerning the recent A-G opinion in the CJEU.

Surveillance

On 16 November 2017 the Home Office launched a consultation on revised codes of practice under Parts 2 and 3 of RIPA.  The consultation closes on 28 December 2017.  There is an article about this in the Press Gazette.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

Zelo Street has post about the press coverage of last week’s Brexit deal: “Press Brexit Delusion exposed”.

IPSO

IPSO has launched a new logo for member publishers to show their commitment to “high standards and public accountability”.  There is a piece about this in the Press Gazette.  Brian Cathcart has an alternative take in a piece entitled “IPSO’s Badge of Dishonour: Some Alternatives”.

These are the latest IPSO rulings

  • A complaint against the Manchester Evening News over the accuracy of a story about a recycling worker’s injuries was dismissed.
  • Complaint about court report photo in Brighton Argus
  • Daily Record Rangers complaint resolved with correction
  • Removing name of complainant from MailOnline article on vaginal mesh high court ruling resolved complaint.
  • Boundary dispute complaints against Daily Post resolved with corrections.
  • Complaints on murder trial court report aganst MailOnline and Metro resolved with private letters of apology to victim’s family.
  • Complaint by taxi driver against Mail on Sunday not upheld.
  • Brexit poll complaint partly upheld against Telegraph and Express but not Sun:

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

There were no statements in open court last week.

A copy of the statement in open court made last week in the case of Suresh v Samad can be found here.

Last Week in the Courts

We understand the cases of Ellis v Wigan Council and Williams v London Borough of Croydon both settled in advance of the trials listed for 6 December 2017.

On 6 December 2017, Nicklin J handed down judgment in the slander case of Dhir v Saddler [2017] EWHC 3155 (QB).  Damages of £35,000 were awarded to the claimant.

On 7 December 2017 Warby J handed down a judgment in the case of Lokhova v Longmuir [2017] EWHC 3152 (QB) dealing with questions of costs after the acceptance of a Part 36 offer by the claimant.

On 8 December 2017 HHJ Moloney QC heard an application in the case of Kozbar v Telegraph Media Group, which concerns an article published on 13 March 2016.

Events

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

Australia

Actor Geoffrey Rush is suing the Daily Telegraph over “false and demeaning” claims towards a female cast member on the set of King Lear two years ago.

A trial is taking place in the case of Mouhammad Tabbaa v Nine Network Australia in  the NSW Supreme Court before Fagan J and a jury of four.   Nine’s chief witness Nadia Tabbaa painted a picture of brutality at the hands of her father, brother, uncles and grandmother.  The trial is continuing.

In the case of Khalil v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd [2017] NSWDC 346 an application by the defendant for summary dismissal of libel proceedings was dismissed.

 Canada

In the case of R v Jones 2017 SCC 60, the Supreme Court held that text messages may attract a reasonable expectation of privacy even after they have been sent and received.  There is a post about this decision on Michael Geist’s blog and a news item on CBC News.

In the case of Toronto Real Estate Board v Commissioner of Competition 2017 FCA 236 the Federal Court of appeal held that new consent was only need where information was used for a new purpose, not where it is distributed by new methods.  There is a post about this on the Canadian Privacy Law Blog.

France

It is reported that Morocco’s state owned airline, Royal Air Maroc, is to sue the Algerian Foreign Minister, Abdelkader Messahel for defamation over allegations that it transports drugs.

Ireland

The Independent reports that a defamation action brought by Sergeant Maurice McCabe against RTÉ and solicitor Gerald Kean has been settled.

Israel

Film director Roman Polanksi is suing an Israeli man for libel for claiming that he raped or assaulted several women when they were minors.

Malta

The Times of Malta reports that former Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil has been awarded €1,000 in damages over a defamatory article which had made the front page of a Sunday paper in 2014 entitled ‘Direct orders for Simon Busuttil’.

Scotland

The Panopticon blog has a post dealing with a Scottish Government consultation on a Draft Order, to commence on 1 April 2019, extending coverage of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 to Registered Social Landlords and their subsidiaries.

Slovenia

Melania Trump’s libel action against the magazine Suzy for alleging that she worked as an escort has been settled.

United States

The Guardian reports on a hearing of a motion by President Trump to dismiss a libel action by former Apprentice contestant, Summer Zervos.

Uber has settled a claim brought by a woman who accused its executives of improperly obtaining her medical records after she was raped by a driver in India.

Eugene Volokh has a piece criticising an order obtained by a business against two customers barring them from “publishing on social media platforms any statements” about it.

 Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts 

On Monday 11 December 2017 Warby J will hear an application in the privacy and harassment case of PTW v WTP.

On the same day HHJ Moloney QC will hand down judgment in the case of Kozbar v Telegraph Media Group.

Judgments

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)


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