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Law and Media Round Up – 30 April 2018 [Updated]

The well-known financial journalist Martin Lewis announced that he is issuing defamation proceedings against Facebook for the publication of misleading adverts bearing his name on the platform. Lewis is the founder of Money Savings Expert. 

The Brett Wilson Media Blog has a post about the case.  There is also coverage in the Press Gazette, the Guardian, Daily Mail and Sky News.

The application by Jonathan Coulter for judicial review of decisions of the IPSO Complaints Committee was dismissed by Warby J in a judgment handed down on 27 April 2018 ([2018] EWHC 919 (QB)).  There was a report in the Press Gazette.

The Supreme Court has provisionally listed the appeal in the serious harm case of Lachaux v Independent Print on 13 and 14 November 2018.

The trial in the case of Sir Cliff Richard OBE v BBC has concluded its third week.  It has now adjourned until 8 May 2018 in order to give the parties time to prepare written closing submissions.  Inforrm’s coverage continued (with thanks to the Media Lawyer):

The Press Gazette reports on the latest Thomson Reuters report on libel and privacy cases under the headline “Higher threshold of harm has seen number of UK defamation cases drop as celebs look to privacy action to fight libel“.  The Thomson Reuters report deals only with cases where there are judgments available on Lawtel and Westlaw, rather than those in fact issued.  Inforrm had a post on a previous year’s version of the report questioning the reliability of statistics compiled in this way.

The G7 Ise-Shima Cyber Group has released its Chair’s report following the Group’s most recent meeting. The Report covers the increasing incidents of cyber threats, with the NotPetya and WannaCry cyber-attacks being highlighted.

Cearta Blog has a review of the EU Copyright Directive considering to what degree the Directive is fit for purpose.

Internet and Social Media

The IPKat blog as a post entitled “YouTube’s new Transparency Report reveals centrality of automated notices and automated takedowns”.

The Norton Rose Fulbright Social Media Law Bulletin considers the case of Stross v. Redfin Corp and the implications it has for sharing photographs. The case concerns allegations made by an architectural photographer that his photographs were used without permission by a property broker, who them encourage third parties to post them on social media sites.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Hawktalk blog has a post entitled Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, Dr. Kogan and a data protection analysis

The Guardian considers privacy rights and promotes online privacy as a human right.

The Stanford Cyberlaw Blog has a podcast from On Point discussing changing policy around Digital Privacy in the EU. Interestingly, it is considered how EU privacy laws may conflict with US free speech laws.

The BBC has released an article on managing ever increasing privacy updates in the wake of the GDPR.


A former hospital worker has been prosecuted by the ICO for inappropriately accessing patient records.


BBC News has coverage of the challenge by Liberty to the Investigatory Powers Act following a successful case in the High Court challenging a number of provisions of the Act as being in conflict with European law.

The Globalist has an article on how to effectively regulate and prevent “surveillance capitalism” by data driven corporations.  The Globe and Mail has a similar article focusing on Facebook’s surveillance capabilities given the volume of personal data it has access to.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

An appeal has been granted to news publishers seeking to challenge the decision to approve Impress as a press regulator under the Royal Charter. The challenge was originally dismissed by the High Court in October 2017.

The EU Commission has published a statement on the proposed Press Publishers’ Right, a newly proposed intellectual property right. Cearta notes that the right has received criticism from over 169 academics, arguing that the right is unnecessary given the substantial rights press publishers already accrue and could hinder freedom of information.


The first judicial review of IPSO’s complaints handling process has been dismissed. The case judgement can be found here. The Press Gazette has considered the outcome.

The repetition of an inaccurate global warming study by the Mail on Sunday has been held not to breach the Editors Code. The Press Gazette analyses the rationale and significance of the IPSO ruling.

The Times has published a  correction following an IPSO Ruling that it’s reporting of a case where a Christian girl was placed with Muslim carers “distorted” the facts of the case breaching Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editor’s Code.  There was a small item on the front page referring to the correction. The Transparency Project blog also has coverage which provides wider context and an analysis of the media outlets response.

The Telegraph has issued an apology over a travel article that repeated an anti-Semitic trope later ruled inaccurate by IPSO, the Press Gazette has coverage.


IPSO has published a series of rulings and a Resolution Statement from the Complaints Committee:

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

There were no statements in open court last week.

Last Week in the Courts

The trial in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC was heard by Mann J on 23 to 26 April 2018 and was then adjourned to 8 May 2018 for closing submissions.

On 26 April 2018, Warby J heard an application in the case of Miah v BBC.  Judgment was reserved.

On 27 April 2018 Warby J handed down judgment in the case of Coulter v IPSO [2018] EWHC 919 (QB) (note that this appears to be the wrong citation as this was an Admin Court case).  The judicial review application was dismissed.

On the same day the Divisional Court (Singh LJ and Holgate J) handed down judgment in the of Liberty v Home Office [2018] EWHC 975 (Admin) declaring that the data retention provisions of Investigatory Powers Act are incompatible with EU law.  There is a report about the case on the Cyberleagle blog.


Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


Sophie Mirabella, former Liberal frontbencher, is bringing a defamation action against the Benalla Ensign newspaper following allegations made in an article that the MP pushed a political opponent at a political benefit. The Guardian has coverage.


The Government of Canada has released its new intellectual property strategy pleading $85.3m over five years to stimulate the development and protection of Canadian-based intellectual property rights. Michael Geist’s blog has coverage.

The Stanford Media Law Blog has a comment by Daphne Keller on the Canadian Right to be Forgotten as proposed in the Draft Online Reputation Position Paper by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Northern Ireland

The Belfast Telegraph has coverage of a conference held by the Libel Reform Campaign where they discussed the Defamation Act 2013.


The Herald Scotland has coverage of a defamation case against Julie McAnulty alleging that racist comments were made by the SNP councillor.

United States

The Washington Post notes that Amazon is revolutionising its delivery system, allowing for delivery to individuals parked vehicles. The Post considers the invasiveness of this service and what safeguards should be considered when requesting and processing sensitive data.

The Volokh Conspiracy blog has an interesting post entitled “Libel by WiFI Network Name“, dealing with a decision of the Idaho Supreme Court.

The Stanford Cyberlaw blog has highlighted a podcast published by Marketplace Tech focusing on how States are introducing policy to prevent internet services providers compromising net neutrality.

Research and Resources

Data Privacy and Data Protection

  • Hey Alexa: Was It the Butler, in the Foyer, with the Candlestick? Understanding Amazon’s Echo and Whether the Government Can Retrieve Its Data, Seth Weintraub, American University, Washington College of Law, Students
  • Text Messages Are Property: Why You Don’t Own Your Text Messages, But It’d Be a Lot Cooler If You Did, Spence Howden, Washington and Lee University


  • The Monsanto Lecture: Online Defamation, Legal Concepts, and the Good Samaritan, Benjamin C. Zipursky, Fordham University Law School


  • Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace – An International Perspective, Abayomi Okubote, Independent

Next Week in the Courts 

On Monday 20 April 2018 Dingemans J will hear an application in the libel case of Abdul Hadi Awang v Clare Rewcastle Brown.  The claimant is a Malaysian MP who sues over an article on a website known as The Sarawak Report.  The Claim Form and Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel [£]

[Update]  On 1 May 2018, there will be a libel trial in the case of Reid v Newsquest before Nicol J.  The claim relates to an article published in the Oxford Mail on 19 January 2017.  The Claim Form and Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel [£]

On 2 and 3 May 2018, there will a hearing of an application in the case of Appleby v BBC and Guardian before the Chancellor, Sir Geoffrey Vos.


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

Economou v Freitas, heard 17 and 18 April 2018 (Lewison, Ryder and Sharp LJJ)

Miah v BBC, hearing 26 April 2018 (Warby J)

This Round Up was compiled by Suneet Sharma, a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media law


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