The Hilary Term legal term begins on Monday 13 January 2020 and ends on 8 April 2020 and a new legal decade begins.  The Inforrm winter break comes to an end today.

The Legal Term opens with the imminent retirement of Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court. Lady Hale took up appointment as President of The Supreme Court in September 2017, succeeding Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury. A video of the valedictory ceremony of the 18 December 2019 can be viewed on the Supreme Court’s website.

On 8 January 2020 the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their intention to take a step back from royal duties in favour of a more private life. The story dominated the national and international headlines including The Guardian and the BBC.  Hacked Off had a press release drawing attention to the sustained media abuse that the couple have sustained.

The news received mixed coverage by the press and Harry and Meghan have been strongly criticised by some news outlets. Hacked off had a press release on this issue.

On 9 January 2020 the Press Gazette had a piece on the Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan being “minded to” intervene in JPI’s sale of i to DMGT. Concerns regarding the potential impact on media plurality in the UK were raised, with Morgan concerned there may be “public interest considerations” that warrant further investigation.

Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat MP, said that journalists had “asked friends, made indirect approaches, and more recently, very direct approaches to people I know, asking for information about my personal life” and the Mail on Sunday had threatened to publish a story about her sexuality. Under those circumstances she decided to reveal that she is pansexual publicly because she feared the newspaper would go on to publish such details. There was a piece on the Press Gazette and on the Hacked off website.

Byline Times had a piece “’F*ck Boris’ Are Schoolchildren Now Under Political Surveillance?”.

ASA had a news “Enforcement update – Ads for Botox on social media”.

Internet and Social Media

Facebook has announced on its blog that it will ban deepfakes videos from its platform in the run up to the US election. There was a piece on the BBC and The Guardian.

The Press Gazette had a piece “Giles Coren leaves Twitter after claiming Owen jones followers ‘harangued’ his family at home”.

Mozilla has warned Firefox users to update their browser to the latest version after security researchers found a vulnerability that hackers were actively exploiting in “targeted attacks” against users. There was a piece on Tech Crunch.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a public consultation on a draft direct marketing code of practice. There was a statement on the ICO’s website.

The Brett Wilson blog had a post “ICO hands down its first fine under the GDPR”.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined DSG Retail Limited (DSG) £500,000 after a ‘point of sale’ computer system was compromised as a result of a cyber-attack, affecting at least 14 million people.

An ICO investigation found that an attacker installed malware on 5,390 tills at DSG’s Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores between July 2017 and April 2018, collecting personal data during the nine month period before the attack was detected. There was a news piece on the ICO’s website.

The Law Society Gazette had a piece “A CJEU case that may affect our data protection re EU post-Brexit”. The Panopticon blog also had a post.


A surveillance vendor that works with U.S. government agencies, such as the FBI, DEA, and ICE, is marketing spying capabilities to local police departments, including cameras that are hidden inside a tombstone, a baby car seat, and a vacuum cleaner. There was a piece on Vice.

Nasdaq had a post “Nasdaq Boosts Trade Surveillance With Data Discovery Tool”.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

On the 10 January journalist Samira Ahmed was her equal pay case against the BBC. There was a piece on the Press Gazette and the The Guardian.

The Press Gazette had a piece “Number 10 refusing to meet political journalists to discuss briefing concerns, says Lobby chairman”.


On the 8 January 2020 IPSO announced a Code review, inviting suggestions from the public, editors, journalists and others working in the media, and anyone else with an interest in journalistic standards. Consultations will close on the 27 March 2020. There was a news piece on the IPSO website.

IPSO has published one ruling and resolution statements since our last Round Up:

05337-19 Cameron v Sunday Mail, 1 Accuracy (2018), 2 Privacy (2018), No breach – after investigation

08392-19 Osinyemi v, 14 Confidential sources (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation

08220-19 Osinyemi v, 14 Confidential sources (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation

08219-19 Osinyemi v, 14 Confidential sources (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation

08194-19 Osinyemi v Croydon Guardian, 14 Confidential sources (2019), Resolved- IPSO mediation

05046-19 Powell-Smith v The Mail on Sunday, 1 Accuracy (2018), Breach- sanction: publication of adjudication

08294-19 Reed v The Times, 1 Accuracy, Resolved – IPSO mediation

07799-19 Morse v, 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2019), No breach- after investigation

02851-19 Mulliss v The Sun, 1 Accuracy (2018), 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2018), 3 Harassment (2019), No breach – after investigation

In the Courts since Last Round Up

On 18 December 2019, Warby J handed down judgment in the case of United Kingdom Independence Party Ltd v Braine [2019] EWHC 3527 (QB) (heard 6 December 2019).  There was a 5RB case report.

On 19 December 2019 Nicklin J handed down judgment in the case of Turley v Unite the Union [2019] EWHC 3547 (QB), (heard 11 to 15 and 19 November 2019). There was a 5RB case report.

On the same day Warby J handed down judgment in the case of Triplark v Northwood Hall & Ors [2019] EWHC 3494 (QB)(heard 5 December 2019).

On 20 December 2019, Nicol J handed down judgment in the case of Elphicke v Times Newspapers Ltd [2019] EWHC 3563 (QB)   (heard 10 December 2019).


6 February 2020, 5RB Manchester half day conference, Manchester Art Gallery.

Please let us know if you have any events which you would like to be listed.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


On 6 January 2020, Besanko J gave judgment in the case of Roberts-Smith v Fairfax Media Publications [2020] FCA 2 dismissing an application for disclosure of confidential sources.  The Court refused to order two investigative journalists to disclose almost 50 documents they argued could expose their sources.  There was a report in The Age.

The Australian Daily Telegraph claimed a TV host was getting a $1 million paycut for breaking standards. That prompted the host, Karl Stefanovic, to sue for defamation.

After less than a month after the Daily Telegraph‘s articles, the newspaper has issued an apology and settled the lawsuit. There was a piece on iMediaEthics.

The Guardian had an article “David Leyonhjelm appeals against court ruling that he defamed Sarah Hanson-Young”.


The Committee to Protect Journalists had an alert on alleged police harassment and attacks against journalists covering protests in São Paulo.


In the case of Skafco Limited v. Abdalla, 2020 ONSC 136 the Court gave summary judgment in a defamation case concerning Facebook and WhatsApp  comments, awarding general damages of Can$8,000 to one plaintiff and Can$6,000 to the other.

In the case of Hobbs v Warner, 2019 BCSC 2196 Donegan J dismissed a defamation claim under SLAPP legislation.

A judge in British Columbia ordered the IG influencer Noelle Halcrow to pay over Can$230,000 to her ex-boyfriend Brandon Rook as a consequence of defamatory social media posts. There was a piece on the Times Colonist.


A Delhi court Friday put Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra on trial for allegedly defaming Zee Media Corporation Ltd. There was a piece on The Hindu.


Al Jazeera had a piece “Morocco rights activists warn over free speech after arrests”.

United States

New York state’s highest court will consider whether U.S. President Donald Trump must face a defamation lawsuit by a former contestant on “The Apprentice”. There was a piece on The New York Times.

The BBC had a piece “Alex Jones ordered to pay $100,000 in Sandy Hook defamation case”.

The CNN has settled with a Kentucky teenager who sued the network for defamation over its coverage of his encounter with a Native American at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. There was a piece on Reuters.

The New York Times has a piece entitled #MeToo Cases’ New Legal Battleground: Defamation Lawsuits.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 13 January 2020 Steyn J will hear an application in the case of RTD v MXE.

[Updated] On 15 January 2020, Nicol J will hear the trial in the case of Dyson v Associated Newspapers.  A copy of the Particulars of Claim is available on Lawtel [£]

[Updated]  On 16 January 2020 Jay J will hand down judgment in the case of Wright v Granath.

On the same day Steyn J will hear a meaning trial in the case of Sakho & anr v World Anti-Doping Agency.


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

W M Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants, heard 6 and 7 November 2019 (Lady Hale and Lords Reed, Kerr, Hodge and Lloyd-Jones)

Wright v Granath, heard 12 December 2019 (Jay J).

Please let us know if there are other reserved judgments which should be added to this list.

This Round Up was compiled by Nataly Tedone who is a media and entertainment paralegal.