The News Group Newspapers phone hacking claims brought by Sir Elton John, David Furnish, Elizabeth Hurley and Heather and Fiona Mills settled last week.  The trial had been due to begin on 4 February 2019 before Mr Justice Mann.

On 29 January 2019 Arcadia and Sir Philip Green discontinued their action against the Daily Telegraph. This was widely covered in the media, including by the Guardian and the BBC.  There was further hearing on 1 February 2019 before Warby J at which the Daily Telegraph complained that Arcadia was continuing to threaten those who had signed NDAs with legal action. Judgment was reserved.

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has published a report which concludes that social media companies must be subject to a legal duty of care to help protect young people’s health and well-being when accessing their sites.  A summary of the report can be found here and the full report here.  The report was discussed on the BBC website and in the Guardian and the Independent.

Meanwhile, the NPSCC has launched a petition – “Help end the Wild West Web” – to ensure that children are safe online. This presently has 26,000 signatures.

On 30 January 2019 the UK Supreme Court gave judgment in three cases relating ([2019] UKSC 3) concerning the disclosure of minor criminal convictions on standard or enchanced Disclosure and Barring service checks.  The Court found that the scheme was disproportionate in two respects but rejected a challenge to the legality of the whole scheme.  The case was widely covered in the media, including in the Guardian and on the BBC.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the controversial former Lib Dem MP John Hemming has been successful in two libel actions against individuals who post comments on social media accusing him of child abuse. The Claim Form and Particulars of Claim in these actions are available on Lawtel [£] – here and here [pdf].

The Malaysian politician, Hadi Awang, has discontinued his libel action (see Lawtel [£]) against Clare Rewcastle Brown over a post in the “Sarawak Report”.  The trial was due to begin on 1 April 2019. There is a comment on the Sarawak Report.

Internet and Social Media

The Politico websites reports that the UK Government is rushing to finalize a draft law against online harms but that key details have yet to be decided.

The Center for Internet and Society has made a submission to the Indian Government on the Draft IT Intermediaries Guidelines.  The lobbying organisation Asia Internet Coalition has issued a media statement on which includes its detailed submissions criticising the Guidelines.

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has announced that Facebook faces seven different data protection investigations.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Jon Baines has an assessment of current data protection issues on the Mishcon de Reya blog, on the occasion of International Data Protection day – noting that the ICO has not yet levied a single monetary penalty since the GDPR came into force.

The EU Commission has issued an infographic on the GDPR which reveals, among other things, that 95,180 complaints have been lodged with national data protection authorities under the regulation.

The Mishcon de Reya blog also notes the case of Doorstep Dispensaree Ltd v The Information Commissioner ([2019] UKFTT 2018_0265) before the First Tier Tribunal, the first appeal under the DPA 2018.

The pwc blog has a post on the free flow of data between the EU and Japan following the reciprocal recognition of data privacy systems on 23 January 2019.


The Information Commissioner has given a speech to the Parliamentary Internet, Communication and Technology Forum event: “Data, Transparency and Trust: How information rights can promote a culture of accountability”.

The ICO has issued fines totalling £120,000 for Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance for breach of electronic marketing laws and is to audit their data protection practices.


Associated Press has reported that Citizen Lab, The researchers who reported that Israeli software was used to spy on Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s inner circle are being targeted in turn by international undercover operatives.  Citzen Lab’s statement can be found here.

Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation  

The Press Gazette reports that Mr Justice Edis has ruled that cockpit footage from the Shoreham Airshow crash, in which 11 people died in August 2015, cannot be released to the media after a request from the BBC and the Press Association. The judgment can be found here [2019] EWHC 135 (QB).

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Vice Media is planning to cut 10 per cent of its staff globally, resulting in up to 250 job losses.

The Press Gazette reports that US news website rating tool Newsguard has changed its verdict on Mail Online after originally declaring the UK’s most-read news website failed to uphold “basic standards of accuracy or accountability”.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

We are not aware of any statements in open court in the past week.

Last Week in the Courts

The trial in Bloor v Beresford & anr  began on 28 January 2019 but settled on the first day.

A pre-trial review in the case of Arcadia v Telegraph Media Group was due to take place on 29 January 2019 but, as already, mentioned the action was discontinued by the claimants.


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 Sydney Morning Herald reports that an ambitious 18-month timetable for defamation law reform has been unveiled.  There is also a report in the Australian Financial Review.


CBC reports on a defamation jury trial in a claim by a Dawson City, Yukon, couple. They claim their reputations were harmed in Facebook posts and letters sent by friends of a senior they were engaged in a property dispute with.

The police breached a sexual assault complainant’s personal information by applying the wrong label to a package containing three operational files on the assault.


The Irish Times reports that anti-eviction activist Ben Gilroy has been refused an injunction requiring a Fiona O’Leary to remove a video posted on social media pending the outcome of his defamation action.  There is also a report in the Irish Examiner.


The Jerusalem Post has a piece entitled “Preserving Ethics in Journalism” dealing with a rabbi’s perspective on the ethical issues posed by illicitly obtaining private pubic interest information from mobile phones


The Gleaner reports that former Moravian Minister Dr Canute Thompson was this morning awarded Jam$16 million in his defamation lawsuit that was filed against Latoya Nugent, co-founder of the women’s advocacy group Tambourine Army.


The Federal Court has held that a person who lodges a police report could be held accountable for defamation if he or she repeats the contents of the report to the public.

Trinidad and Tobago

The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian reports that a High Court judge has award­ed for­mer in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Ani­ka Gumbs TT$255,000 in dam­ages for a se­ries of li­bel­lous ar­ti­cles pub­lished in Sun­shine news­pa­per al­most four years ago.

United States

The Washington Examiner reports that, following the Daily Telegraph’s recent apology to Melania Trump, the author of the article which was the subject of the apology has demanded that it be removed from the website and herself threatened a libel action.

District Judge Lucy Koh has refused to approve a settlement in the Yahoo data breach class action, saying Yahoo’s refusal to disclose the total amount to be paid out to those affected by the largest data breach in history renders it insufficient.  The judge in the case of “In re Yahoo! inc Customer Data Security Breach Litigation” can be found here [pdf].


TechZim has a piece arguing that courts must decide on the wider legal issues regarding internet shutdown.  Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Information defended the shutdown and said he would do it again because the people of Zimbabwe are “backward”.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts 

On 4 February 2019 Nicklin J will hear an application in the case of Rochester v Ingham House Ltd.  Some of the background to the case can be found here.  In December 2018 Popplewell J dismissed applications for summary relief from both the claimant and the defendant ([2018] EWHC 3599 (QB) [£]).

On 6 February 2019 there will be a one day hearing in the case of Theodotou v Kounis . The Claim form and Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel [£]

On 7 February 2019 there will be a one day hearing in the case of Poroshenko v BBC.  the Claim form and Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel [£]


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)

Arcadia v Telegraph Media Group, heard 1 February 2019 (Warby J).