On 5 May 2021 the Duchess of Sussex won the final element of her privacy and copyright case against Associated Newspapers. In January, Lord Justice Warby had delivered summary judgment in her favour, setting aside for later only the copyright point of the possible second author of the letter.

Associated insisted that someone helped her write the disputed letter to her father and that therefore she could not claim sole copyright. This was proved to be baseless after the supposed second author, Jason Knauf (the former Palace media official) denied it.  In documents for the hearing the Duchess’s lawyers declared that there had never been any substance to the joint copyright arguments and said the defence side’s conduct had been ‘out of the norm’, ‘lacking in candour’ and ‘extraordinary (in a bad way)’. The judge awarded indemnity costs to the Duchess.

Associated has applied for permission to appeal the previous order for summary judgment in the misuse of private information and copyright claim. The news received wide national and international coverage. We reproduced a piece on Inforrm  and the Guardian had an article.

The Press Gazette had a piece “Failure of coroners to facilitate media in inquests during pandemic an ‘affront to open justice’”.

On 6 May 2021 Mr Justice Julian Knowles handed down judgment in Spicer v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2021] EWHC 1099 (QB).  He dismissed the claim for defamation brought by William Spicer against the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on the basis that the Court did not accept Mr Spicer’s case that his reputation had been seriously harmed by the publication of the press release for the purposes of section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013, taking into account other contemporaneous coverage of the criminal trial and its outcome, and that Mr Spicer’s evidence on harm was at a high level of generality. There was a post on the 5RB website.

Ofcom has announced that despite concerns from commercial broadcasters, the BBC Sounds app is not having a “significant adverse impact on fair and effective competition” in the podcast and radio market.  The broadcast regulator has carried out a review of BBC Sounds’ market position and published its provisional view that in fact, commercial radio has done better at attracting online listeners than the BBC. Wireless, the audio arm of Rupert Murdoch’s Times and Sun publisher News UK, had told Ofcom the growth of BBC Sounds was impeding the independent podcast sector. The Press Gazette had a piece.

Geo News has a piece about an application by the Mail on Sunday seeking more time to file a defence in the defamation case brought against them by former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and Imran Ali Yousaf, his son-in-law.

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

Internet and Social Media

The Guardian had a piece “UK ministers urged to make tech giants responsible for scams

Twitter will roll out a new prompt to users who are about to send a tweet that its algorithms believe could be “harmful or offensive”. Those who try to send such a message will be asked if they “want to review this before tweeting”, with the options to edit, delete, or send anyway. The Guardian had a piece.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The ICO published 5 headlines discussed at the ICO’s Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference 2021.

The ICO had a blog post regarding upcoming updates to guidance and the development of a new code of practice in line with the statutory requirement under section 124 of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018). The new guidance will help anyone processing personal data for the purposes of journalism to understand their legal obligations and how to comply effectively, including newspapers and magazines, television and radio broadcasters, and ‘citizen journalists’.

The Department for Culture Media and Sport recently published its annual Cyber Security Breaches Survey, which aims to capture trends in cyber security incidents and provides a snapshot of the approach of UK businesses to the risks of an incident and the types of incidents seen in the previous 12 months. DLA Piper Privacy Matters had a post.


Irish Legal News had a piece “Supreme Court: Admissibility of surveillance audio recordings upheld against convicted IRA members”.

The Financial Times had an article “UK spies warn local authorities over ‘smart city’ tech risks”.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Press Gazette had a piece “Playlists and front page readings: The Washington Post has big plans for audio articles as it begins Amazon Polly roll-out

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

New Cases

There were 17 new cases issued in the Media and Communications List between 1 and 9 May 2021:  11 data protection cases, 3  defamation cases, one Norwich Pharmacal application, one injunction application and one “miscellaneous” case.

Last Week in the Courts

The trial in the case of MUSST Holdings Limited v Astra Asset Management UK Limited and another continue before Freedman J on 4 to 7 May 2021 and continues on 10 May 2021.

As already mentioned, on 6 May 2021 Julian Knowles J handed down judgment in Spicer v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis. 

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


The former attorney general Christian Porter is suing ABC  and journalist Louise Milligan for defamation, over an article alleging that an unnamed cabinet minister had been accused of a January 1988 rape. The ABC will defend defamation claims by arguing the former attorney general was “reasonably suspected”, but  it did not assert he was in fact guilty of the crime. The Guardian had a piece.


Shanghai Daily had a news “‘Brake failure’ car owner suing Tesla for defamation”.


The Independent had a piece “Newspaper group seeks ‘urgent’ review of country’s defamation laws”.


The Times of Israel reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s family has filed a defamation suit against his predecessor Ehud Olmert for calling the premier, his wife Sara and eldest son Yair mentally ill in interviews.


Kenya’s watching had a news “Court awards MP Mohammed Ali Ksh 1m over defamation story”.


Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi has been awarded €1,000 in libel damages over allegations made on Facebook that the politician used to meet “a working girl at Portomaso.”


The Committee to Protect Journalists had an alert “Myanmar military bans all satellite TV”.

United States

A federal judge in Maryland this week followed through on a previous warning to sanction a lawyer best known for representing Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) in a series of failed defamation lawsuits against media companies, saying the lawyer’s latest case against CNN was “frivolous” in nature. Law and Crime had a piece.

Research and Resources

Next Week In the Courts

On 10 May 2021 the trial in the case of Riley v Murray will begin before Nicklin J.

The contract and slander trial in MUSST Holdings Limited v Astra Asset Management UK Limited and another continues before Freedman J on 10 May 2021.

Reserved Judgments

The following reserved judgments after a public hearing are outstanding:

Lloyd v Google, heard 28 and 29 April 2021 (UKSC)

Riley v Sivier, heard 27 April 2021 (Sharp P,  Henderson and Warby LJJ).

Hijazi v Yaxley-Lennon, heard 21-23 and 26 April 2021 (Nicklin J)

Rondon v Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions UK Ltd,  heard April 2021 (Collins Rice J)

Kumlin v Jonsson, heard 24 and 25 March 2021 (Julian Knowles J).

Junejo v New Vision TV Limited, heard 24 and  25 March 2021 (Murray J)

Miller v College of Policing and another, heard 9 and 10 March 2021 (Sharp P,  Haddon-Cave and Simler LJJ)

Lachaux v Independent Print, heard  22 and 24 February and 1 March 2021 (Nicklin J)

Wright v McCormack, heard 16 and 18 February 2021 (Julian Knowles J)

Desporte v Bull, heard 9 February 2021 (Julian Knowles J)

Ansari v Amini, heard 10-11 November 2020 (Julian Knowles J)

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

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