On 22 January 2019 Mr Justice Mann heard a Pre-Trial Review in the latest News Group Newspapers phone hacking case, due for trial 4 February 2019.  The claimants contend that phone hacking was widespread at the Sun as well as the News of the World.

The Court was told that the claim brought by Sir Elton John and David Furnish was close to settling.  Two claims remain, those brought by Liz Hurley and Heather and Fiona Mills.  There was a report of the hearing on Byline and one in the Guardian.

Martin Lewis’ defamation claim against Facebook arising out of scam adverts has been settled.  As part of the settlement, Facebook will donate £3m to Citizens Advice to deliver a new UK Scams Action Project. Facebook will also launch a new scam ads reporting tool and a dedicated team of people to act upon such reports.  Facebook has also agreed to pay Mr Lewis’ legal costs.  There is a 5RB news report.

The Daily Telegraph has published an apology to U.S. First Lady Melania Trump “after running an article in its magazine a week ago that it said included “a number of false statements” and shouldn’t have been published.  The newspaper has agreed to pay Mrs Trump substantial damages and legal costs.

The actor Tina Malone is facing contempt of court proceedings for posting an image on social media which was said to be of Jon Venable, one of the killers of the toddler James Bulger.

The representative claimant in the case of Lloyd v Google LLC has been granted permission to appeal by the Court of Appeal.  The appeal has a “hear by date” of 19 February 2020.  We had a case comment on the decision at first instance.

Internet and Social Media

The House of Commons Petitions Committee has published a report agreeing with Katie Price that the law on online abuse of disabled people is not fit for purpose.  There is a news report on iNews.

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has warned social media companies that he will use the law to force them to act if they do not remove inappropriate content in the context of concerns about suicide and self-harm among teenagers.

Facebook is reportedly considering a merger of its three messaging platforms – WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger – allowing users to send messages between the networks for the first time.

It is reported that the legislative process over the new EU Copyright Directive has become deadlocked six member states have objected to Articles 11 and 13 (the “link tax” and the “upload filter”) as being too restrictive.

Prospect has a piece by James Ball entitled “How to cut Big Tech down to size”.

Forbes reports that the Indian Government has introduced new draft Intermediaries Guidelines Rules [pdf] that would require internet companies to remove a whole range of content from their platforms.  Reuters reports that social media companies are planning to fight the new regulations.

On 24 January 2019 the Russian State Duma voted to approve the first reading of two bills which would outlaw fake news and using the internet to express disrespect to society, the government, the state’s official symbols or in the Constitution in an obscene or irreverent way.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Mishcon de Reya blog has a comment entitled France’s National Data Protection Commission fines Google €50m.  There is also a post about this fine on the Panopticon blog.

The pwc blog has Part 2 of its post Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the GDPR

The Panopticon Blog has a post about the case of Shepherd v Information Commissioner, Bearing a Burden: Prosecuting under the DPA

Reuters reports that Irish data watchdog is investigating Twitter over privacy rules breach.


The Information Commissioner has a blog post: How will personal data continue to flow after Brexit?

Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation  

The Guardian has a post entitled “Future of digital journalism in question as BuzzFeed and HuffPost lay off 1,000”.

The New Republic has a post “Regulating Facebook and Google Won’t Save Journalism“.

There is a post on “Hold the Front Page”, Privacy in action – law, regulation, and “Cliff’s law.

The Nieman Lab has a post setting  out “12 principles journalists should follow to make sure they’re protecting their sources” – setting out the so-called “Perugia Principles”.


Resolution Statement 06695-18 Fiona Thomson- Tur v The Herald (Wallingford), 1 Accuracy (2018), Resolved – IPSO mediation.

Resolution Statement 07146-18 Dewey v Mail Online, 1 Accuracy (2018), Resolved – IPSO mediation.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

On 21 January 2019, there was a unilateral statement in open court in the “World Check” case of Al-Zeer v Reuters Ltd before Warby J.

Last Week in the Courts

On 21 and 22 January 2019 Warby J heard an application in the case of Arcadia Group Ltd & ors v Telegraph Media Group Ltd.  Judgment was handed down on 23 January 2019 ([2019]  EWHC 96 (QB)).

On 23 to 25 January 2019 Dingemans J heard the trial in the case of Burgon v News Group Newspapers Ltd before Dingemans J.  The Claim form and Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel [£]  There was a report of the trial in the Guardian and reports in the Press Gazette, here and here.

On 22 January 2019 there was a PTR in the phone hacking case of Various Claimants v News Group Newspapers. There was a report on the Press Gazette.

On 24 January 2019 the UK Supreme Court (Lords Reed and Kerr, Lady Black, Lord Briggs and Lord Kitchin) will hear the appeal in the case of Stocker v StockerWe had a case preview.  Judgment was reserved.  There were reports of the hearing in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph. The full hearing can be seen on the UK Supreme Court website: Morning session and Afternoon session.


Navigating Privacy in a Data Centric World, Lecture by Jules Polonetsky, Regent House, Trinity College, Dublin, 28 January 2019, 16.00 to 17.30.

State of the Net 2019, Center for Internet and Society, Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, Washington, DC, 29 January 2019, 8.00am.

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.

Women and AI: Harms, Impacts and Remedies, Information Law and Policy Centre, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR, 7 March 2019, 17.00 to 19.00.

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


The judgment of McCallum J staying Craig McLachlan’s defamation case until the final determination of the criminal proceedings commenced in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria is available at McLachlan v Browne (No 9) [2019] NSWSC 10.


The libel claim by former British Columbia Liberal leader Gordon Wilson against Bruce Ralston, Premier John Horgan, MP Rachel Blaney and others concerning his job performance as advocate for the LNG, or liquefied natural gas, program during Christy Clark’s Liberal government has been listed for a 10 week trial beginning on 14 April 2020.


The Times reports that broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan is to sue Facebook for defamation alleging that the social media giant is promoting fake advertisements with malicious stories about her in order to attract clicks.


A Dundee bridal shop is suing a bride for defamation over a series of one-star reviews on social media.


The Straits Times reports that Blogger Leong Sze Hian, who is being sued by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for defamation, filed an application to the courts yesterday to strike out PM Lee’s claim against him.

United States

On 22 January 2019 the US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up an appeal in Hassell v. Bird, in which the California Supreme Court ruled that the Communication Decency Act provided that interactive websites were immune from liability for defamatory comments posted on the website.

The Press Gazette reports on Elon Musk’s application to dismiss the defamation claim filed against him by a British diver whom he called a paedophile on Twitter.


On 21 January 2019 the High Court declared that a Government imposed internet blockade was illegal and that social media access should be restored.  The restrictions had been in place for over a week.  The Veritas website published a Constitution Watch Bulletin dealing with the legality of the shutdown.

Research and Resources

Privacy and Data Protection


Freedom of Expression

Next Week in the Courts 

On 28 January 2019 the trial in Bloor v Beresford & anr  28 January 2019 will begin before Dingemans J.  This is a slander claim, listed for a 7 day hearing. The Claim form and Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel [£].

On Tuesday 29 January 2019 there will be a pre-trial review in the case of Arcadia v Telegraph Media Group.


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).

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).

Burgon v News Group Newspapers Ltd  heard 24 to 26 January 2019 (Dingemans J)

Stocker v Stocker, heard 24 January 2019 (UKSC)