The most high profile media law case of the year, Depp v News Group Newspapers, began before Nicol J on Tuesday 7 July 2020.  We had a post dealing with some of the evidence given in the first week.

We drew attention to journalist Nick Wallis’ live-tweeting of the trial (supported by crowd-funding).  He explains the background in a blog post. Mr Wallis has obtained an uploaded the Court documents and the first week trial transcripts – which are available here.  This is a valuable resource which enables interested readers to read the full details of Mr Depp’s evidence during the first week of the trial.

The Metro is live blogging the trial. There was also coverage in the Press Gazette

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

On 10 July 2020, the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland handed down judgment in the case of Re Judicial Review, Fine Point Films [2020] NICA 35.  The Court quashed a search warrant relating to the offices of two journalists, Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, describing the conduct of the hearing at which the warrant was issued as falling “woefully short of the standard required to ensure that the hearing was fair”.  Amnesty International described the judgment as “a landmark decision for press freedom in the UK”.  There was a piece in the Press Gazette.

The Duchess of Sussex has applied to the High Court to stop the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday from naming her five friends who spoke anonymously to a US magazine.  There was a piece in the Press Gazette.

Although the Media Reform Coalition “Media Democracy Festival 2020” was cancelled due to Covid-19, the group has been hosting a a series of short lunchtime sessions on key themes concerning media democracy and social justice in the light of Covid-19 and beyond.  These are no available on the MRC’s YouTube channel.  There was a post about this on the MRC Website.

Internet and Social Media

The Cyberlaw Clinic blog has a post “230-esque Language in the USMCA: What Does It Mean for the US and Canada?

The EDPB has adopted the final version of its Guidelines 5/2019 on the criteria for Right to be Forgotten  in search engine cases under the GDPR.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Public reports that Whitehall departments reported 495 personal data breaches to the ICO in the 2020 fiscal year.

The DLA Piper “Privacy Matters” blog has a post entitled “The Netherlands – DPA imposes €830,000 fine for access requests fees”.

The ICO has published a comment on the House of Lords Committee on Democracy and Digital Technology report “Digital Technology and the Resurrection of Trust“.

Data Protection Report has a comment on the decision of the US Supreme Court  in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, No. 19–631 (July 6, 2020), “Cell phones, robocalls and text messages – two pronouncements”.

The Panopticon Blog has a post “Parliaments and the GDPR” concerned the CJEU case, Case C-272/19 VK v Land Hessen (EU:C:2020:535).

The Privacy & Information Security Law Blog has a post “Privacy and Personal Information Protection Under the Civil Code of China“.

On June 26, 2020, New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little announced that the bill to repeal and replace New Zealand’s existing Privacy Act 1993 (the “Privacy Bill”) had passed its third reading in Parliament. The Privacy Bill received royal assent on June 30, 2020.  There was a post on the Privacy & Information Security Law Blog.

Telecoms reports that privacy authorities in the UK and Australia have announced a joint investigation into Clearview AI, a US firm which provides facial recognition technologies.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The LSE Media Policy Project blog has a post by Natali Helberger, “Challenging rabbit holes: towards more diversity in news recommendation systems


IPSO has published two rulings and resolutions statements since our last Round Up:

05648-20 Clarke v Resolved – IPSO mediation
02327-20 Lawson v The Gazette (Paisley), Resolved – IPSO mediation

Last Week in the Courts

On 6 July 2020 Saini J handed down judgment in the case of Spicer v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2020] EWHC 1778 (QB).

On 7 July 2020, the same judge handed down judgment in the case of United Kingdom Independence Party Ltd (UKIP) v Braine & Ors [2020] EWHC 1794 (QB)

As already mentioned, the trial in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers began before Nicol J on Tuesday 7 July 2020 and continued until Friday 10 July 2020 when it was adjourned part heard.

On 8 July 2020 Warby J handed down judgment in Aven v Orbis Business Intelligence [2020] EWHC 1741 (QB), (heard 16 to 19 March 2020).

On 10 July 2020 Saini J handed down judgment on meaning and fact/opinion in the case of Millett v Corbyn [2020] EWHC 1848 (QB).  The judge found that the words complained of made defamatory allegations of fact.  There was a report in The International News.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


In the case of Gatto v Australian Broadcasting Corporation [2020] VSC 420 Keogh J rejected the plaintiff’s application for trial by jury.

Crikey has a piece “Writing Geoffrey Rush: Trial by Media – and learning the balance of power


The Privacy and Cybersecurity Law blog has a post, Québec’s new privacy bill: a comparison of Bill 64, PIPEDA and the GDPR.

The Lawyer’s Daily has a post entitled “Defamation law reform in Ontario” about the Law Commission’s Final Report on Defamation Law in the Internet Age.

In the case of Nanda v. McEwan, 2020 ONCA 431 an appeal from an order dismissing an anti-SLAPP motion was dismissed.


The Irish Times reports that A defamation and malicious falsehood action against Independent News and Media plc (INM) by Dana Rosemary Scallon has been struck out by the High Court because she had not sued the correct defendant.

The Irish Examiner reports that the High Court has ordered the disclosure of certain documents which businessman Denis O’Brien says he needs for his defamation and conspiracy action against the Red Flag Consulting public relations company.

Paul Tweed has an opinion piece in the, “Ireland is in prime position to hold social networks to account – and we must.”


The Committee to Protect Journalists website has a piece “Kazakhstan decriminalizes defamation, but maintains detentions, criminal penalties for speech offenses

United States

The Independent reports that a New York judge has allowed Roy Moore to proceed with his defamation case against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, over a prank that he claims portrayed him as a paedophile.

The New York Times has responded to a defamation claim filed by President Trump’s campaign,  calling it “an abuse of the judicial process”.

Roger Stone has said that he is planning to file a defamation claim against Facebook for “de-platforming him”.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

The trial in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers will continue before Nicol J on Monday 13 July 2020 and is expected to take another two weeks.

On 13 July 2020 the trial in the case of Nwakamma v Umeyor will begin before HHJ Lewis. The claim form and particulars of claim are available on Lawtel [£]


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