On 3 April 2019 the Supreme Court handed down judgment in the libel appeal of Stocker v Stocker ([2019] UKSC 17).  The Judge’s determination on meaning was reversed and judgment was entered for the defendant.

We had a post from Oliver Cox on the judgment. There were reports on the Transparency Project Blog, the Himsworth Scott website, the BBC and the Guardian.  The Daily Telegraph has an interview with the defendant who argues that the courts are being used to silence and control women.

In an opinion piece published on 30 March 2019 in The Washington Post, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg called for more regulation of the internet. He said there are four areas where more oversight is necessary: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.

We had a post about Mr Zuckerberg’s piece. The Economist commented that Mr Zuckerberg might just get the regulation he is seeking. The ICO issued a statement saying the she expected Facebook to review its current appeal against the ICO’s £500,000 fine arising out of the Cambridge Analytica affair.

On 2 April 2019, the settlement of three further News of the World phone hacking cases was announced, more than 8 years after the first claims were issued. There were statements in open court in the cases of O’Brien, Thomas and Bayliff v NGN before Mann J.

Media practitioners will note that on 5 April 2019 the appointed was announced of former Jury List judge and defamation silk Dame Victoria Sharp as the first woman President of the Queen’s Bench Division.  She will replace Sir Brian Leveson who is retiring on 22 June 2019.

Internet and Social Media

Australia has passed a new law to punish social media companies for not policing violent content.  There is a report in Time and one in the National Post.

The Information Law and Policy Centre Blog has a post “Why there’s so little left of the early internet”.

Data Protection and Data Privacy

The Government has published its Cyber Security Breaches Survey, 2019 [pdf].  This suggests that phishing and fake emails are the biggest security headache.  There is a piece on ZDNet.

Billboard reports that a £5 million data breach action on behalf of 650 claimants has been launched against Ticketmaster following last year’s data breach which is believed to have affected 40,000 in the UK.

In a report, “Competition policy for the digital era” [pdf] three academics appointed by the EU Competition Commissioner to look at digital challenges have said that EU antitrust regulators should consider forcing tech giants such as Google and Amazon to share their data with rivals rather than break them up.

The Data Protection and privacy insights has a post “The ICO and the FCA – a Special Relationship in the Data Privacy World” concerning a revised “Memorandum of Understanding” between the two regulators.

Privacy Matters notes that the Polish DPA has issued its first fine for breach of the GDPR, of €230,000.


The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined the London Borough of Newham £145,000 for disclosing the personal information of more than 200 people who featured on a police intelligence database.

A former GP Practice Manager has been convicted of an offence under section 55 of the DPA for sending personal data to her own email account without authorisation. She was fined £120.

Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation 

The IPKat blog has a post in its series on the new EU Copyright Directive: “Is the press publishers’ right waivable?”

The Press Gazette reports on comments made by one of the journalist arrested in Northern Ireland over a film naming massacre suspects at a screening of the film.


IPSO has dismissed an accuracy complaint by Cumberland News journalists against their own newspaper (see: 07921-18 National Union of Journalists (NUJ) v The Cumberland News).

IPSO has issued a number of other rulings this last week:

00952-19 Richardson v express.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2018), Breach – sanction: action as offered by publication,

07797-18 Shorten v Shoreham Herald, 2 Privacy (2018), 6 Children (2018), 9 Reporting of crime (2018), No breach – after investigation

Resolution Statement 07899-18 The Bicester School v The Sun, 1 Accuracy (2018), Resolved – IPSO mediation,

Resolution Statement 01278-19 Tahwa v stokesentinel.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2018), Resolved – IPSO mediation

07908-18 A woman v theargus.co.uk, 2 Privacy (2018), 6 Children (2018), No breach – after investigation

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

As already mentioned, on 2 April 2019 there were statements in open court in the cases of O’Brien, Thomas and Bayliff v NGN before Mann J.

Last Week in the Courts

On 1 April 2019 Richard Spearman QC heard the last day of the trial in Otuo v The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (previously heard 12-14 and 25 to 29 March 2019). Judgment was reserved.

On 2 April 2019 Julian Knowles J will hear an application in the defamation case of Sadik v Sadik. Judgment was reserved.

As already mentioned, on 3 April 2019 the UK Supreme Court gave judgment in the case of Stocker v Stocker ([2019] UKSC 17).  .

On the same day the Court of Appeal (Longmore, Sharp and Bean LJJ) heard the appeal in the case of Tinkler v Ferguson.  Judgment was reserved.


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

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


In the case of Bowden v KSMC Holdings Pty Ltd t/as Hubba Bubba Childcare on Haig & Chapman [2019] NSWDC 98 the plaintiff childcare worker was awarded $238,000 damages for a defamatory email sent by his employer.  There was an ABC news report about the case and one in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The New Daily reports that residents of a remote Northern Territory community have launched defamation action against Channel Seven over a segment on its Sunrise breakfast program. There was also an ABC news report.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Labor MP Emma Husar and online news outlet BuzzFeed will attempt to settle her defamation case by mediation.


The Canadian Privacy Law Blog has a post “Ontario court refuses to order accused to unlock his smartphone”.


The Irish Sun reports that Lee Byrne, the son of an alleged gangsters and a friend are suing a Dublin restaurant for defamation as a result of allegation that they were accused of not paying for a meal.

The Irish Times notes that the deadline for Denis O’Brien to appeal his defamation loss has now passed.

United States

CNN reports that a settlement has been reached in a defamation case against Bill Cosby — but representatives for the comedian say he didn’t cut the deal.

NJ.com reports that Dr James Goydos, a former professor of surgery for Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, faces a 160-count indictment accusing him of photographing women in a bathroom, burglary and identity theft.  He faces a civil claim  for intentional infliction of distress.

TechStock Standard has a post “David Kramer spread Steele dossier around Washington during Trump transition

The Press Gazette reports that Michael Leidig and Central European News have filed a notice of appeal after their $11m libel action against Buzzfeed was dismissed by a judge in New York.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 8 April 2019 Julian Knowles J will hear an application and the trial in the breach of confidence and libel case of Chelfat v Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.  The Claim Form and Particulars of Claim can be found on Lawtel [£]

On 10 April 2019, Warby J will hand down judgment in the case of Rudd v Bridle & anr


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).

Bull v Desporte, heard 25 to 28 March 2019 (Julian Knowles J)

Otuo v The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society heard 12-14, 25 to 29 March and 1 April 2019 (Richard Spearman QC).

Sadik v Sadik, heard 2 April 2019 (Julian Knowles J).

Tinkler v Ferguson, heard 3 April 2019 (Long.more, Sharp and Bean LJJ)