After three year’s study, the Scottish Law Commission has issued a 161 page Report on Defamation [pdf] proposing substantial reform to the law. The report includes draft legislation. There was a news release and YouTube video of the Chairman announcing the report. The story was covered by the Herald, the BBC.
It appears that the result of the Government’s consultation on Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry (which concluded in January 2017) will not be announced before Christmas. A Government Minister, Lord Keen of Elie, told the House of Lords on 13 December 2017 that Sir Brian Leveson has indicated that he would like the opportunity to consider the responses to the consultation and that will take a little time. There was a report about this on the Press Gazette.
The case of Mark Lewis Law v Taylor Hampton, (heard 25-27 and 30-31 October 2017) has settled and Moulder J will not now be delivering judgment. The terms of settlement are confidential.
Internet and Social Media
Lord Burns, who has been approved as the new Chairman of Ofcom, has told the DCMS Committee and Sport that, if required, Ofcom would be a suitable vehicle for regulating social media.
The Center for Internet and Society blog has a post entitled “FCC’s Rushed, Technically Flawed Decision will Harm the Economy”.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The ICO has executed search warrants at two addresses in Nottingham as part of an investigation into a network suspected of making hundreds of millions of nuisance calls.
The ICO has published an update on its investigation into data analytics for political purposes.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Zelo Street has a post about Friday’s Sun front page story entitled “Sun Victimises The Disabled”.
Recent rulings include
- Wholistic Life v Sunday Mail, No breach of Clauses 1 and 2.
- A Man v South Wales Evening Post, Breaches of clauses 2 and 6.
- Obuchowska v Mail Online, No breaches of clauses 2, 4 and 3.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court last week.
Last Week in the Courts
On Monday 11 December 2017 Warby J heard an application in the privacy and harassment case of PTW v WTP.
The same judge also handed down judgment in the case of LJK v Persons Unknown  EWHC 3230 [pdf]. We will have a post on this judgment later in the week.
On the same day HHJ Moloney QC handed down judgment in the case of Kozbar v Telegraph Media [pdf]. The judge held that the natural and ordinary meaning of an article published in the Sunday Telegraph was that the claimant was a supporter of violent Islamic extremism and a hypocrite.
On 13 December 2017 Mann J held a PTR in the phone hacking case, Various v News Group Newspapers. A number of cases are due to go to trial in January 2018.
On 14 December 2017 Mann J heard an application in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC. The Judge ordered Sir Cliff to provide further information concerning his claims for financial losses. There was a report in the Press Gazette.
On 15 December 2017 judgment was handed down on behalf of Sir David Eady in the case of Pannu v Carter.
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
On 15 December 2017 Chaney J handed down judgment in the case of Rayney v State of Western Australia  WASC 367. The case was tried on 1-31 March, 3, 11, 19, 21, 26 and 28 April, 8, 9, 12, 16 May and 17, 10, 24 and 28 July 2017. Barrister Lloyd Rayney won his defamation claim against the Western Australian government after being named by police as the ‘prime’ and ‘only’ suspect in his wife’s 2007 murder. He was awarded damages of Aus$600,000.
On 11 December 2017, Mossop J handed down judgment in the case of Hall v Hanson  ACTSC 369 refusing to strike out a “Lange” qualified privilege defence.
It is reported that businessman Kenny Wee is suing online media outlet Citizen News for defamation over an article relating to his purchase of tabloid publication Next Magazine.
The Times reports that billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien has settled a defamation claim against former Fianna Fail TD Colm Keaveney.
The Court of Appeal has been asked by the State to overturn its own decision to allow a retrial of part of a civil action by Ian Bailey against the State over the conduct of a Garda investigation.
The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) has demanded that there be changes to defamation laws to protect the freedom of the press.
President Trump has successfully resisted an appeal against the dismissal of a libel claim by political strategist, Cheryl Jacobus.
Research and Resources
- The Relationship between Data Protectionand the Right to Privacy and the Prospects of These Rights to Counterbalance the Risks Posed by the Surveillance Society, Maryna Manteghi, Independent.
- The Public Information Fallacy, Woodrow Hartzog, Northeastern University School of Law and College of Computer and Information Science
Next Week in the Courts
We are not aware of any media and law cases listed for this week.
The following reserved judgment after a public hearing in a media law cases is outstanding:
Kennedy v The National Trust for Scotland, heard 21 November 2017 (Sir David Eady).