On 2 July 2020 Nicol J granted Johnny Depp relief from sanctions following a failure to comply with disclosure obligations (see [2020] EWHC 1734 (QB)). There was a report of the decision in the Press Gazette.

The Judge subsequently rejected an application by Mr Depp for an order that his ex-wife Amber Heard be excluded from the Court whilst he was giving his evidence.  The trial will begin on 7 July 2020.

On 2 July 2020 a coronavirus recovery plan was published which will extend court hours from this month in the first phase of the government’s plans to tackle the justice backlog. In the Ministry of Justice it will also complete the reopening of all courts in July and install screens to combat the risk of spreading infection. The plan says: ‘It is clear that while physical distancing restrictions remain in place, we will not be able to work “as normal”. There was a piece in the Law Society Gazette.

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

Press freedom groups and journalist organisations are among 40 groups to call for the British Government to release Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on his 49th birthday. The Press Gazette had a piece.

Internet and Social Media

A House of Lords committee is demanding the UK Government introduce new legislation allowing regulators to sanction tech giants and tackle a “pandemic of misinformation” that is threatening lives and democracy.

The peers, are urging ministers to push through Online Harms legislation “without delay” so that Google, Facebook and other firms can be held accountable for falsehoods spreading online. There was a piece on the Press Gazette.

The Press Gazette had an article “Facebook ad boycott: More than 400 brands sign up to Stop Hate For Profit as survey suggests firms are losing interest in social media”.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Panopticon blog had a piece “Public Authorities under the EIR: Fishing for Clarity”.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and Ofcom have set up a new forum to help ensure online services work well for consumers and businesses in the UK.

The Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum strengthens existing collaboration and coordination between the three regulators. It aims to harness their collective expertise when data, privacy, competition, communications and content interact. The ICO’s website had a piece.

The ICO’s website had a statement “Statement on the publication of ICO guidance to businesses collecting personal data for contact tracing”.

Law.com had a piece “The 4 Keys to Mastering Data Privacy”.


The Guardian had a piece “Online privacy experts sound alarm as US Senate bill sparks surveillance fears”.

Forbes had a piece “Airline Surveillance Cameras May Tattle On You For Not Wearing A Face Mask”.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation


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

01445-20 Robertson v Telegraph.co.uk, 1Accuracy (2019), No breach- after investigation

00527-20 Ekins-Daukes v The Times, 1 Accuracy (2019), No breach- after investigation

Last Week in the Courts

On 1 July 2020 Mr Justice Nicklin  handed down judgement in Piepenbrock v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2020] EWHC 1708 (QB) regarding the claimant’s service of the Claim Form.  It was held that the defendants were entitled to the declaration that service of the Claim Form had been ineffective. The Claim Form was not served during its period of validity. In consequence, the Court hadno jurisdiction over the Claimant’s claim. There was a piece on Matrix Chambers’ website.

On the same day Steyn J heard various applications in the case of Ameyaw v Goldrick.  She refused the claimant permission for her McKenzie friend to make oral submissions on her behalf.  There was a piece in the Law Society Gazette.

As already mentioned, on 2 July 2020, Nicol J handed down another interim judgment in Depp v News Group Newspapers [2020] EWHC 1734 (QB).

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


In the case of Nationwide News Pty Limited v Rush [2020] FCAFC 115 the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the Sydney Daily Telegraph against an award of $2.9 million libel damages to the actor Geoffrey Rush. The newspaper and its publisher had challenged an Australian federal court decision from April 2019 that found claims conveyed in two of its news articles from 2017 that the Oscar winner had behaved inappropriately towards a colleague were not credible.  On Thursday the full court of the federal court upheld the 2019 ruling that the articles portrayed the actor as a sexual predator and “pervert” in detailing his behaviour towards a co-star during the 2015-16 run of the Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear. There were pieces in The Guardian and the Press Gazette.

ABC News had a piece “Real estate agent threatening to sue former tenant over ‘defamatory’ online review”.


A constitutional challenge to criminal libel laws was dismissed by a judge who, nevertheless, called on Parliament to give serious consideration as to whether the laws remained viable.


All five of Canada’s biggest banks are joining an international boycott of Facebook over concerns that the platform is complicit in promoting racism, violence and misinformation.  Scotiabank, RBC, CIBC, BMO and TD have pledged to stop purchasing ads on the site for the month, aligning themselves with other brands in signing onto the StopHateForProfit campaign. The initiative, spearheaded by organizations like the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, began in response to growing anti-Semitic and anti-Black rhetoric found on the social media platform. CBC had a piece.


The Irish Times had a piece “BBC must provide more information for Gerry Adams defamation case, judge rules”.

Former minister for justice and ceann comhairle John O’Donoghue has succeeded in joining the publishing arm of the Tralee newspaper Kerry’s Eye in defamation proceedings. At the Circuit Civil Court in Killarney Judge Helen Boyle said she was allowing “forthwith” Kenno Ltd, to be joined in the defamation proceedings against Kerry’s Eye Ltd, and was extending time to allow this.  The case involved allegations in relation “to conduct in public office”, and this was the differentiating factor from case law opened in court last week – and the defendant too had written a robust defence letter early “pleading public interest”, the judge said. The Irish Times had a piece.


Bangkok Post had a piece “Supreme Court acquits activist in defamation case”.

United States

New York federal judge LaShann DeArcy Hall has refused to dismiss a libel claim against “Shitty Media Men” creator Moira Donegan.  The complaint comes from Stephen Elliott, a widely published author and director who was upset about his inclusion in a spreadsheet that circulated in the wake of allegations against Harvey Weinstein. That spreadsheet — called “Shitty Media Men” — allowed women to anonymously contribute stories of being victims of sexual misconduct. Elliott had an entry. He allegedly was someone facing “rape accusations, sexual harassment, [and] coercion.” The Hollywood Reporter had a piece.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 7 July 2020 the trial in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers will begin before Nicol J and is expected to last 3 weeks.  There were pieces in the Guardian and The Week about the forthcoming trial.

On 8 July 2020 Warby J will hand down judgment in Aven v Orbis Business Intelligence, (heard 16 to 19 March 2020).


Please let us know if there are any reserved judgments which we should be listing.

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