The Attorney General’s office has been monitoring media coverage of the suspected terror attack in Reading over contempt of court concerns as it issued a warning over requirements under the Contempt of Court Act 1981. It is a contempt to publish any information that could create a substantial risk that the course of justice in proceedings could be seriously impeded or prejudiced.

In a statement  the Solicitor General, Michael Ellis QC MP, specifically pointed editors, publishers and social media users not to publish anything that “asserts or assumes the guilt of any of those who have been arrested”. “The Solicitor General also wishes to remind journalists and members of the public that it can amount to contempt of court to publish information relating to a suspect’s alleged previous convictions.” The Press Gazette had a piece.

The Commercial Court is considering whether to make some hearings remote by default once the pandemic has passed, after managing to keep on top of its entire caseload during lockdown.

Cockerill J said judges, court staff and users are actively thinking about whether to make remote or ‘hybrid’ hearings – which are part live, part virtual – the go-to position for certain types of cases post Covid-19. The Law Society Gazette had a piece.

Singer Justin Bieber filed a $20 million (£16.2m) defamation lawsuit in Los Angeles against two women after they accused him of sexual assault. Bieber denied the claims, which he described as “fabricated lies” and vowed to speak to Twitter to urge the social media giant to take legal action. The BBC had a piece.

A defamation claim has been issued in the Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy saga which started when Rooney claimed Vardy had been leaking stories about her to the press. Rebekah Vardy, who has always denied all allegations, is now suing Coleen Rooney for libel. There was a piece on the BBC.

As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.

Internet and Social Media

The Press Gazette had a piece “Covid-19 vaccine conspiracies on social media could have ‘serious effect’ on world’s ability to recover from pandemic, study”.

The Guardian had a news piece “Facebook policy changes fail to quell advertiser revolt as Coca-Cola pulls ads”.

A research from Ofcom  found that as online news consumption grows people are less likely to check the facts. There was a piece on the Press Gazette.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The European Commission published an evaluation report on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The report shows the GDPR has met most of its objectives, in particular by offering citizens a strong set of enforceable rights and by creating a new European system of governance and enforcement. The European Commission website had a piece.

The National Law review had a piece “CCPA – Enforcement is coming, Ready or Not”.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has published a code of conduct designed to guide online gambling operators on their processing obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Mishcon de Reya Data Matters had a post.

Forbes had a piece “GDPR: A Strategic Opportunity?”.


EU News had a piece “Covid-19: digital surveillance, borders and human rights”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling for better use of information from Coronavirus (COVID-19) surveillance systems in order to rein in the virus. “We need to get smarter in using the evidence and the information we have from our COVID-19 surveillance systems to improve the only way we have to minimise transmission: find, isolate, test and care for every case. Trace and quarantine every contact,” WHO Director for Europe Hans Kluge said. The Brussels Times had a piece.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The News Media Alliance (NMA), which represents 2,000 news media groups across the US, have sent a report to regulators alleging that Google has used its online market dominance to “strong-arm” them into unfavourable content agreements.

The organisation is also pushing for Washington to pass the Journalism Competition & Preservation Act, which would allow news publishers to collectively negotiate better terms with tech platforms. The Press Gazette had a piece.


The IPSO blog had a post “Online content and the Editors’ Code”.

IPSO has published a number of rulings and resolutions statements since our last Round Up:

09437-19 Shipsey v Bournemouth Echo, 1 Accuracy (2019), 2 Privacy (2019), 3 Harassment (2019), 6 Children (2019), No breach – after investigation

02972-20 Various v The Daily Express, 1 Accuracy (2019), No breach – after investigation

01828-20 Coates v, 5 Reporting suicide (2019), No breach – after investigation

00120-20 Moses v Accuracy (2019), 2 Privacy (2019), 12 Discrimination (2019), 11 Victims of sexual assault (2019), No breach – after investigation

00119-20 Moses v Mail Online, 1 Accuracy (2019), 2 Privacy (2019), 12 Discrimination (2019), 11 Victims of sexual assault (2019), No breach – after investigation

00027-20 Moses v,1 Accuracy (2019), 2 Privacy (2019), 12 Discrimination (2019), 11 Victims of sexual assault (2019), No breach – after investigation 

09537-19 The Sunbed Association v, 1 Accuracy (2019), Breach – sanction: action as offered by publication

Last Week in the Courts

On 22 June 2020 Julian Knowles J heard an application in the case of XLK v KZL.

On 23 June 2020 Saini J heard the trial of a preliminary issue on meaning in the case of Millett v Corbyn.  The hearing was adjourned to receive further submissions. There was a report in Jewish News.  The Jewish Chronicle had a piece “Libel case begins over Corbyn’s ‘English irony’ interview with Marr”.

On the same day Nicklin J heard the pre-trial review in the case of Nwakamma & ors v Umeyor

On 25 June 2020, Jay J heard the pre-trial review in the case of Gubarev & ors v Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd & anr.

On the same day Nicol J heard an application in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers. Judgment was reserved.

On 26 June 2020 Steyn J handed down judgment in the case of CXZ c ZXC [2020] EWHC 1684 (QB).  the claim was struck out and judgment was entered for the defendant.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


Lawyers for former SAS soldier Ben Roberts-Smith say it is now probable the Victoria Cross recipient will be able to give his evidence in an open court in a coming defamation trial.  Mr Roberts-Smith is suing The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald over reports he allegedly committed murder on an overseas deployment. He denies the allegations and says the reports are defamatory because they portray him as a war criminal. The Sydney Morning Herald had a piece.


Reuters had a piece “Canada’s LifeLabs failed to protect customer data, privacy commissioners find”.


Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui has reacted to his wife sending him a legal notice for divorce in May by sending a notice to Aaliya with subject to engaging in fraud, willful and planned defamation as well as slander of character. Times of India had a piece.

Mondaq had a piece “ Defamation Against Blind Items”.


Defamation proceedings are being brought by former minister for justice and Ceann Comhairle, John O’Donoghue, against the Tralee based newspaper Kerry’s Eye over articles published in 2018 alleging he had been forced from political office because of lavish expenses, the Circuit Civil Court in Killarney has been told. The Irish Times had a piece.


Scottish Legal News had a piece “Scott Clair: Scots law of defamation and putting a kilt on Rebekah Vardy”.

United States

A judge has ruled that Rep. Devin Nunes has no right to sue Twitter over statements made by a fake Internet cow, someone parodying his mother and a Republican strategist. Judge John Marshall said in a decision Friday that Twitter was “immune from the defamation claims of” the Republican from Tulare due to federal law that says social media companies are not liable for what people post on their platforms. The Los Angeles Times had a piece.

The Press Gazette had a piece “Trump moves to increase restrictions on Chinese media in US”.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 29 June 2020, Nicol J will hand down judgment in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers.

On 30 June and 1 July 2020 Saini J will hear an application in the case of The United Kingdom Independence Party Ltd v Braine.

On 1 July 2020 Nicklin J will hand down judgments in the cases of Piepenbrock v Associated Newspapers Ltd & ors and Hijazi v Yaxley-Lennon.

On the same day Steyn J will hear an application in the case of Ameyaw v McGoldrick.

On 3 July 2020 Mann J will hear another CMC in the News Group Phone Hacking Litigation, Various Claimants v News Group Newspapers.


The following reserved judgment after a public hearing in a media law case is outstanding:

Aven v Orbis Business Intelligence, heard 16 to 19 March 2020 (Warby 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.


The Coronavirus lockdown is an ideal time for Inforrm readers to compose all those blog posts they have been thinking about for many months but been too busy to write.  This is an ideal opportunity to keep in touch with the media law world.  We can be contacted at