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Law and Media Round Up – 4 March 2019 [Updated]

In another libel victory for a politician against a national newspapers, Daniel Poulter MP has succeeded in his claims for libel, misuse of private information and breach of confidence against the Times.

The action concerned false allegations of sexual assault. The judgment on meaning given on 14 December 2018 is at [2018] EWHC 3900 (QB).There was a statement in open court in the case which read on 25 February 2019. There was an item on the 5RB website and reports in the Guardian and in the Press Gazette.  This case follows last month’s victory by Labour MP Richard Burgon against the Sun (see our post here).

[Update] On 28 February 2019 the Irish Court of Appeal handed down a comprehensive judgment in the case of Kinsella v Kenmare Resources [2019] IECA 54 reducing the record award of damages of of €9 million compensatory damages to €250,000 and setting aside the award of €1 million aggravated damages as “disproportionate, unjust and unfair”.

Baroness Warsi, David Lammy MP, Caroline Lucas and a range of other politicians have signed an open letter coordinated by Hacked Off and Media Diversified calling on IPSO to do more to tackle racism in the press.  The Press Gazette reports that IPSO has responded by saying that it does not condone religious or race-based hate.

It is reported that Johnny Depp is suing his ex-wife, Amber Heard, in the Circuit Court of Fairfax Virginia, over a Washington Post piece about domestic violence in which he was not named. There was a hearing in a related action in the High Court last week (see below).

Hacked Off notes that the Mirror, Express and Star newspaper publisher Reach (formerly known as Trinity Mirror) increased its cash pot for dealing with phone-hacking cases by £12.5m last year, bringing the total spent on the scandal to £75.5 million.

David Anderson QC (the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation) gave a lecture on 11 February 2019 on “Reporting Terrorism”

The winner of the Strasbourg Observers poll for the best ECtHR judgment of 2018 was Magyar Jeti Zrt v. Hungary.  We had a post on this decision in December 2018.

Internet and Social Media

The Social Media Law Bulletin has a post about the case of Batra v POPSUGAR which concerned social media influencer’s claims against a site which copied photos and information but removed links used to monetize social media pages.

Data Protection and Data Privacy

The Himsworth Scott blog has a post “Selecting the right reputational strategy during a data breach”.

The Mishcon de Reya blog has a post on Further guidance on data transfers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The Panopticon Blog has a post two recent Upper Tribunal cases, Information Commissioner v Halpin [2019] UKUT 29 (AAC) and LO v Information Commissioner [2019] UKUT 34 (AAC).

The pwc blog has a post on the decision in Shepherd v Information Commissioner [2019] EWCA Crim 2, “Unlawful Disclosure of Personal Data: Who Carries the Burden of Proof Now?


The ICO blog reports that a former senior local government officer has been prosecuted for passing the personal information of rival job applicants to his partner.

Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation 

An Australian court has found the publisher of the Age liable for the psychiatric injury caused to a crime reporter who, over a period of 6 years, was exposed to trauma and vicarious trauma in investigating and reporting distressing crime, injury and death scenes.  In the case of YZ v The Age Company [2019] VCC 148 O’Neill J held that the newspaper was negligent in failing to train the plaintiff, editors and senior managers and having systems in place to detect and deal with symptoms of injury.  General damages of A$180,000 were awarded.


IPSO has ruled that the Jewish Chronicle did not break accuracy rules in an article about the Labour Party rejecting a definition of anti-Semitism.  There is a report in the Press Gazette.

IPSO has published a number of recent rulings:

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

As already mentioned, on 25 February 2019 there was a statement in open court in the case of Poulter v Times Newspapers before Nicol J.

Last Week in the Courts

As already mentioned, on 25 February 2019 there was a statement in open court in the case of Poulter v Times Newspapers before Nicol J.

On Wednesday 27 February 2019 Nicklin J heard an application for a stay in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers.  The application was dismissed.  There is a report in the Press Gazette.

On the same day Julian Knowles J handed down judgment in the case of Triad Group plc v Makar [2019] EWHC 423 (QB) granting default judgment for breach of contract, harassment and defamation.


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


We had a post about the Council of Attorney’s General discussion paper on the review of the law of defamation.  There was a comment about reform of the law in the Sydney Morning Herald.

In the case of Bailey v Bottrill [2019] ACTSC 45 leave to appeal was granted in a case in which the first instance tribunal had found that the plaintiff had been defaming be sharing a video on her Facebook post.  The video suggested that he was a member of a satanic and pedophile group. The appeal will be heard at a later date.


The National Post reports that one of Ontario’s highest-ranking police officers is threatening to sue Premier Doug Ford accusing him of defamation by accusing the officer of breaking the Police Services Act.


Businessman Denis O’Brien has lost his High Court libel action against the Sunday Business Post.  The jury, by a majority, dismissed the case on 1 March 2019. The Times suggests that he faces a costs bill of €1 million.  There is a comment about the case in the Irish Times.  Following the case the Taoiseach commented that a review of defamation laws in Ireland is being carried out.

As already mentioned, the Court of Appeal has reduced the record award of libel damages award of €10 million in the case of Kinsella v Kenmare Resources to €250,000.


The Jerusalem Post reports that Blue and White Party chairman Benny Gantz filed a libel lawsuit in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court following accusations against him of sexual misconduct that occurred some 40 years ago when he was a senior in high school.


The Times of Malta reports that the Malta Gay Rights Movement has been awarded €4,000 in two separate libel cases over allegations that the organisation was being financially supported by an international promoter of abortion.

United States

The ABA Journal reports that a Federal Judge has dismissed a libel claim in the case of Folta v New York Times, Case 1:17cv246-MW-GRJ, hold that a University of Florida professor’s emails are public records that trigger the state’s fair reports privilege.

In the case of Boulger v Woods, 2019, No.18-3170, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a libel claim against actor James Wood over a tweet during the 2016 election campaign.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts 

The judgment in the case of Various Claimants v MGN, heard 13 February 2019 by McCombe, Ryder and Floyd LJJ will be handed down on 7 March 2019.

[Update] The data protection case of Rudd v Bridle is listed for 2 days, commencing on 7 March 2019.  The case is a claim under section 7 of the DPA 1998 and claim for the erasure of inaccurate data and damages for wrongful processing,


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).

Stocker v Stocker, heard 24 January 2019 (UKSC)

Cape Intermediate Ltd v Dring, heard 18 and 19 February 2019 (UKSC)

1 Comment

  1. Mack patel

    Nice post! Thanks for sharing.

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