The trial in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers, continued before Nicol J all last week. We had posts on Days 9, 10 & 11, Days 12 & 13 and Day 14. The evidence has now concluded and Monday and Tuesday 27 and 28 July 2020 will be occupied by legal submissions following the traditional order, defendant first and the claimant having the last word (in contrast the the practice in the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division which is now for the claimant to go first, then the defendant, with the claimant having a right of reply).
We again draw attention to journalist Nick Wallis’ website with uploaded Court documents – witness statements and the trial transcripts. This is a valuable resource which enables interested readers to read the full details of the evidence which has been given.
There was also a trial in the libel case of Gubarev v Orbis Business Intelligence before Warby J. There was a piece about the first day in the Washington Times. The Claimant, businessman Aleksej Gubarev, told the judge he was “stunned” to learn that he featured in the Steele dossier. Mr Steele said that he did not foresee a media organisation obtaining copies of the dossier.
There were a number of media reports about the Particulars of Claim served by Rebekah Vardy in her case against Coleen Rooney. The MailOnline report contains a full copy of the Particulars of Claim. The same website reported that Mr Rooney believed that the claim had “gone too far”.
The News reports that Imran Ali Yousuf, the son in law of leading Pakistan opposition politician Shahbaz Sharif, has launched a defamation suit against the Mail on Sunday, Mail Online, and reporter David Rose, seeking an apology and damages of more than £500,000 over an article published last year that had accused Yousuf of stealing British foreign aid earmarked for the victims of the 2005 earthquake that hit Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The Guardian reports that Renate Blauel, the ex wife of Sir Elton John, has issued a privacy claim against him arising from the release of his autobiography.
The Panopticon Blog had a post about the Aven v Orbis decision entitled “Defamation Trumps Data Protection? Steele yourselves”.
Coin Geek has a piece about the libel action brought by Dr Craig Wright against Peter McCormack. The trial is currently listed for 4 May 2021.
As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The ICO published her annual report for 2019-2020. We had a post.
The EDPB has issued an “Information Note on BCRs for Groups of undertakings/enterprises which have ICO as BCR Lead SA” [pdf]
On 1 July 2020 the Irish Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the case of Nowak v Data Protection Commissioner  IECA 175 which dealt with the limits of the concept of “personal data”. There was a comment on the DLA Piper “Privacy Matters” blog.
The DLA Piper “Privacy Matters” blog has a Webcast on Covid-19, contact tracing, data privacy and public trust.
The EDPB has released “Frequently Asked Questions” about the Schrems II case.
Data Protection Report had a post “Schrems II: The US Perspective and where do we go from here?”
The Global Legal Post has a piece by Adam Rose about Schrems II entitled US-EU data sharing agreement struck down by the European Court of Justice
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Hacked Off has published research on the extraordinary extent of Murdoch companies’ access to government. There was a piece on the Hacked Off website here.
Byline Times has a piece by Brian Cathcart entitled “Another Anti-Muslim Piece in Murdoch’s Flagship Paper Ends in a Libel Settlement”.
IPSO has published two rulings and resolutions statements since our last Round Up:
Statements in Open Court
The Labour Party made a statement in court, in which it “apologised unreservedly” to former Labour staffers and journalist John Ware in the Panorama libel case and agreed to pay “substantial damages”. The statement in the case of Ware v Labour Party is here and the statement in the case of Buckingham and others v Labour Party is here. There was piece on the 5RB website.
Last Week in the Courts
As already mentioned, the trial in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers continued before Nicol J on Monday 20 July to Friday 24 July 2020 and will continue this week.
The trial in the libel case of Gubarev v Orbis Business Intelligence took place on 20 to 24 July 2020 before Warby J. Judgment was reserved.
On 23 July 2020 Steyn J handed down judgment in the case of Scarsdale Grange LLP (t/a Scarsdale Grange Nursing Home) v JPIMedia Nsmy Ltd & Anor  EWHC 1988 (QB).
On the same day Master Dagnall gave judgment in the case of Ghannouchi v Middle East Online Ltd & Anor  EWHC 1992 (QB) . He assessed damages, following a default judgment, in the sum of £45,000.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
The Guardian reports that the Melbourne underworld figure Mick Gatto is suing the ABC over a “hurtful” article that his lawyer say implies he is a hitman and murderer. The defendant, ABC, said that the claim was “hopelessly misconceived“.
The Canberra Times reports that Australia’s top legal officers are expected to agree to overhaul defamation laws to protect public interest journalism and control “spiralling” payouts. It appears that the changes will be modelled on the Defamation Act 2013.
In the case of Oei v. Hui 2020 BCCA 214 the Court of Appeal of British Columbia held that a plea of “knowing falsity” cannot transform purposes within the ambit of the litigation into tortious purposes in respect of the tort of abuse of process.
HuffPost has a post “A Me Too Reckoning Is On In Quebec, But The Rest Of Canada Has Barely Noticed“.
Irish Legal News reports that A Limerick solicitor has launched defamation proceedings against the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) over its comments about a personal injury case, according to reports.
The Times of Israel reports that the wife of the Finance Minister has threatened to take coalition whip Miki Zohar to court for defamation
It is reported that Nick Sandmann, the high school student at the center of a video at the Lincoln Memorial that went viral last year, said he has settled a defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post over its coverage.
A federal judge overseeing a civil claim against Ghislaine Maxwell has agreed to unseal court documents related to a 2015 defamation case.
Research and Resources
- Tackling COVID-19 through responsible AI innovation: Five steps in the right direction, Harvard Data Science Review (2020), David Leslie, The Alan Turing Institute.
- The Puzzle of Squaring Blockchain with the General Data Protection Regulation, Jurimetrics Journal, 2020, Raffi Teperdjian, George Washington University, Law School.
- The Case against Social Media Content Regulation: Reaffirming Congress’ Duty to Protect Online Bias, ‘Harmful Content,’ and Dissident Speech from the Administrative State, CEI, Issue Analysis 2020 No. 4, Clyde Crews Jr., Competitive Enterprise Institute.
- Privacy is the Problem, Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010, 19 Widener Law Journal 873 (2010), Raymond Shih Ray Ku, Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
- The Founders’ Privacy: The Fourth Amendment and The Power of Technological Surveillance, Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2002, 86 Minnesota Law Review 1325 (2002), Raymond Shih Ray Ku, Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
- The Right to Be Forgotten Comes of Age, Roberto Pardolesi. LUISS “Guido Carli” University of Rome.
- Is ‘Privacy’ a Means to Protect the Competition or Advance Objectives of Innovation and Consumer Welfare?, Personal Data Protection and Legal Developments in the European Union (ed.) Tzanou, M., (IGI Global, 2020), Arletta Gorecka, University of Strathclyde – Department of Law,
- The influence of defamation law on the interpretation of Australia’s racial vilification laws, (2020) 26 Torts Law Journal 34, Bill Swannie, Victoria University.
- The Second Founding and the First Amendment, U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020-22, William M. Carter, Jr., University of Pittsburgh – School of Law.
- The Facebook Oversight Board: Creating an Independent Institution to Adjudicate Online Free Expression, Yale Law Journal, Vol. 129, No. 2418, 2020, Kate Klonick, St. John’s University – School of Law.
- Civil Rights Laws and Freedom of Speech, Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties edited by Paul Finkelman (Routledge 2006, p. 302-305). Maimon Schwarzschild, University of San Diego School of Law.
Next Week in the Courts
The trial in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers will continue before Nicol J on Monday 27 July and is expected to conclude on Tuesday 28 July 2020 .
On 27 July 2020 Nicklin J will hear a committal application in the case of Oliver v Javed Sheikh.
On 29 July 2020 there will be an application in case of HRH The Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Ltd before Warby J.
On 30 July 2020 there will be a Pre-Trial Review in the case of Various Claimants v MGN before Mann J.
The following reserved judgments after public hearing in a media law case are outstanding:
Gubarev v Orbis Business Intelligence, heard 20 to 24 July 2020 (Warby J)
Nwakamma v Umeyor, heard 13 to 16 July 2020 (HHJ Lewis)
Please let us know if there are other reserved judgments which we should be listing.