The Hilary Term 2019 began last Friday, 11 January 2019.  We welcomed the New Year with a follow up to our most popular post of 2018, this time “Top 10 Defamation Cases of 2018”.

The most high profile media law story over the past month involved a couple who were arrested over the “Gatwick drone chaos” and later released without charge. We had a post about this Drone hysteria and the serial privacy invaders of the British Press. There was a piece in the Press Gazette.  The case resulted in Conservative MP Anna Soubry repeating her calls for a “Cliff’s Law” to stop suspects being named before they are charged (a position which commands overwhelming support among the general public).

On 10 January 2019 the Advocate General issued opinions in two “right to be forgotten” cases involving Google.  We had a post about this by Ian Helme, “The Right To Be Forgotten back in the CJEU: Advocate General Opinions on sensitive personal data and the geographical scope of de-referencing”. There was also a post on the Brett Wilson Media Law blog, Victory for Google at European level on the scope of delisting.

On 19 December 2018 Nicklin J handed down judgment in the “Twitter libel” case of Monir v Wood [2018] EWHC 3525 (QB).  We had an Inforrm post on the decision.  There was also a 5RB Case report an article in the Law Society Gazette and a piece on the Brett Wilson Media Law Blog,  Monir v Wood: Think before you allow someone else to tweet on your behalf

IpKat has a post about another recent opinion of AG Spunzar, in the Spiegel Online case (C-516/17), entitled AG Szpunar advises CJEU to rule that quotation exception is not limitless and that there is no fair use in the EU.

Internet and Social Media

The Internetcases blog has a post Should revenge porn victims be allowed to proceed anonymously in court? considering the case of M.C. v. Geiger, 2018 WL 6503582 (M.D.Fla. Dec. 11, 2018)

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Mishcon de Reya has a two part blog post dealing with the DCMS and ICO data protection guidance and the draft “no deal” DP regulations:

The Panopticon Blog has a post about the case of Campbell v Secretary of State for Northern Ireland [2018] UKUT 372 (AAC) – Death and the DPA.  The same blog has a post about the case of R (Segalov) v Chief Constable of Sussex Police & Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police [2018] EWHC 3187 (Admin) entitled “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry/Sue for Accreditation if I Want To!”.

The PWC Data Protection blog reports that “Individuals responsible for PECR breaches could face fines”.

The same post has a blog dealing with the key considerations to be taken into account when developing and deploying AI technologies, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the GDPR – Part One”.


A blog by the Deputy Commissioner discusses the important issue of Access to serious sexual crime victims’ information – how much is too much?

SCL Elections (aka Cambridge Analytica) has been fined £15,000 for failing to comply with an ICO enforcement notice.

Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation  

On 20 December 2018 the chair of the Press Recognition Panel, David Wolfe QC, wrote to the Government to assert its independence [pdf].  There is a report in the Press Gazette. 

The David Banks Media Law Blog has an interesting post on “Identifying children involved in crime”

IMPRESS has published its annual report, 2017-2018. The Canary was the most complained about member of Impress in 2017-2018.  There was a report in the Press Gazette.


Rulings and resolution statements

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

We are not aware of any statements in open court being made in the past months.

Last Month in the Courts

On 17 December 2018 Nicklin J heard the trial of a preliminary issue on meaning in the case of Tinkler v Thomas and gave judgment ([2018] EWHC 3563 (QB)).

On 18 December 2018 Nicklin J heard the trial in the case of Carruthers v Associated Newspapers.  Judgment was reserved.

On 19 December 2018 Sir Peter Openshaw found that the defendant in the harassment case of Foskett v Ezeugo was in contempt of court in that he had breach an injunction on 175 occasions.  An order was made committing him to prison for 12 months.  The judgment is available on Lawtel [£]

The appeal in the “right to be forgotten” case of NT1 v Google LLC, which was due to be heard by the Court of Appeal on 20 December 2018 was withdrawn shortly before the hearing.

On the same day the Court of Appeal dismissed the application for permission to appeal in the judgment of Nicklin J in the case ofBokova v Associated Newspapers.

As already mentioned, judgment in Monir v Wood [2018] EWHC 3525 (QB) (heard 16 to 19 April and 3 to 5 July 2018) was handed down by Nicklin J on 19 December 2018.


Mind the Gap: a blueprint for a new regulatory framework that effectively captures citizen journalists, Information Law and Policy Centre, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR, 28 February 2019, 17.00 to 18.45.

Media Democracy Festival, Media Reform Coalition, Clore Centre 27 Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL, 10.00am to 6pm 16 March 2019

3rd Global Conference of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, Berlin, Germany, 3-5 June 2019.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


There is a piece in the Guardian dealing with 2018 in the Australian media: Farewell to Fairfax, defamation woes and agony at Aunty: the year in Australian media.

In has been announced that a girls’ boarding school and its staff have settled a defamation claim brought by its former principal Debra Kelliher.  There is a report in the Sydney Morning Herald and one on ABC News.


The blog has a post “R v Reeves: Shared computer? Don’t Fret – Your Secrets are Safe”.

In the case of Elkow v San 2018 ABQB 1001, a mother who campaigned with leaflets, letters and a poster on her car falsely claiming an Edmonton school principal was abusive, racist and a criminal was ordered to pay Can$260,000 in damages for defamation. There is a report in the Edmonton Journal.


The Times of Malta reports that Opposition MP Claudio Grech has been awarded €4,000 in two libel suits against the PL media over a story alleging that on the eve of the 2013 general elections, he had attempted to silence a whistleblower in relation to the oil scandal.


A former SNP councillor has been awarded £40,000 damages for defamation over a false ‘racism’ claim.

The Sunday Times reports [£] that Scotland’s defamation laws are to be overhauled with a consultation expected this week on new legislation

United States

A school teacher has been awarded US$4 million by a jury in a libel claim against a blogger

The BBC reports that Elon Musk is seeking to dismiss a defamation claim by saying that “over-the-top” paedophilia claims he tweeted should not be taken seriously.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has dismissed an appeal against a US$6 million libel verdict in favour of an agent of the State Bureau of Investigation who had sued The News and Observer.

It is reported that JonBenet Ramsey’s Brother has settled his $750 Million libel claim against CBS over a documentary which posited that he had killed his six year old sister.

CNN reports that the libel claim brought by Russian tech entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev against Buzzfeed over the “Trump Dossier” has been dismissed by a Federal Judge.

Research and Resources

Data Protection and Data Privacy

Defamation and Freedom of Expression        

Next Week in the Courts 

On Monday 14 January 2019 Nicklin J will hand down judgment in Carruthers v Associated Newspapers Ltd (heard 18 December 2018) and Dingemans J will hand down judgment in Caine v Advertiser & Times Ltd (heard 11 December 2018)

On the same day Nicklin J will hear an appeal from the Master in the case of Okoreaffia v Olayemi


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

Kennedy v National Trust for Scotland, heard 25 and 26 July 2018 (Sharp and Asplin LJJ and Sir Rupert Jackson).

Butt v Secretary of State for the Home Department, heard 17 October 2018 (Underhill V-P, Sharp LJ and Sir Rupert Jackson).

Nugent v Willers, heard 13 November 2018 (Privy Council)

Lachaux v Independent Print, heard 13 and 14 November 2018 (UKSC)

ZXC v Bloomberg, heard 27-28 and 30 November 2018 (Nicklin J)

R (on the application of Privacy International) v Investigatory Powers Tribunal, heard 3 and 4 December 2018 (UKSC)

Ali v Channel 5, heard 4 December 2018 (Irwin, Newey and Baker LJJ).