The short Easter legal term ended on Thursday 27 May 2022.  The Trinity legal  term will begin  on Tuesday 7 June 2022 and end on Friday 29 July 2022.  Inforrm will not be taking a Whitsun break and will continue posting as usual.

MGN has failed in its attempt to obtain summary judgment in the managed phone hacking litigation.  The newspaper group had argued that the claims were statute-barred when issued because the limitation period began at the date of publication or, alternatively, that the claimants could have discovered the relevant facts, at the very latest, by May 2015.  This argument was rejected by the managing judge, Fancourt J, in a judgment handed down on 27 May 2022, Various Claimants v MGN Ltd [2022] EWHC 1222 (Ch).

The judge held that the question as to whether a reasonably attentive individual in the claimants’ circumstances was put on notice in May 2015 is not clear-cut and the issues were better disposed of at a trial.  There was a report of the decision in the Press Gazette focussing on the case of the actor Ricky Tomlinson.  The trial of the claims is listed to take place in May 2023.

The latest, 13th Edition, of the libel practitioner’s bible, Gatley on Libel and Slander, was published on 20 May 2022.  The work has been comprehensively updated to take in the latest case including Lachaux, Stocker, Serafin, Lloyd v Google, Economou, Wright v Ver, Wright v Granath, Corbyn v Millett, Duchess of Sussex v Associated, and Soriano v Forensic News. The joint editors are HHJ Parkes QC and Godwin Busuttil.  There is a news piece on the 5RB website.

Internet and Social Media

The LSE Media Blog has an article on the dangers of Elon Musk’s “free speech absolutist” agenda for Twitter. Eleonora Maria Mazzoli argues that, in a world where social media and search engines have become integral to how people find and access information and news online, an approach focused on a negative rights philosophy is insufficient. She argues for the need for positive safeguards to introduce and promote public interest objectives in the governance of social media platforms.

The Panopticon Blog had an article on the recently discontinued representative claim SMO v TikTok Inc and Others [2022] EWHC 489 (QB). This case is the latest in a line of representative claims that have been withdrawn since the Supreme Court’s decision in Lloyd v Google, which determined that damages could only be awarded following individualised assessment, and were not available under the Data Protection Act 1998 merely for “loss of control” of personal data: proof of damage or distress was necessary.

Twitter is to pay a $150 million fine for using users’ data for different purposes than for which it was initially given in breach of the Federal Trade Commission Act. This is not the first time that the company has had to pay for such digressions.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Four years after the enforcement of the EU GDPR, data regulators are struggling to act quickly on complaints against Big Tech and pending enforcement decisions are still waiting. The activist group My Privacy is None of your Business (NOYB), which filed a series of complaints in 2018, says enforcement is not happening as quickly as anticipated. Data regulators say enforcement is working well and improving. Wired has more information here.

NOYB, run by privacy activist Max Schrems, has issued an open letter to US and EU officials about the announcement of an ‘agreement in principle’ for a new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework. Read DLA Piper’s summary here.

A new report by Human Rights Watch has confirmed that children are exploited through many seemingly innocuous – and often government endorsed – educational technologies. Read the LSE Media Blog summary and analysis here.

The New York Times has an article which suggests that the current climate of largely uninhibited free-flowing data around the world could soon be a thing of the past. Over fifty countries including Austria, France and South Africa have launched initiatives to control data created by citizens, government agencies and businesses.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Clearview AI Inc £7,552,800 for using images of people in the UK, and elsewhere, that were collected from the web and social media to create a global online database that could be used for facial recognition. Read the ICO statement here.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

Hacked Off had an article by Alan Evans, former journalist at the Llanelli Herald, who was forced to resign over failed payments totalling £6000. IPSO failed to take any action for the missed payments and continued to regulate the Herald after Evans’ complaint.


New Issued Cases

There was one data protection and one defamation (libel and slander) claims filed on the media and communications list last week.

Last Week in the Courts

On 20 May 2022, judgment was handed down in Shell v Persons Unknown [2022] EWHC 1215 (QB). Shell sought to maintain an injunction that restrains the defendant climate activists from undertaking certain activities such as damaging petrol pumps and preventing motorists from entering petrol stations. The claimant recognised that the injunction interferes with rights of assembly and expression but contended that the interference was proportionate and justified to protect its right to trade. Shell secured the injunction for up to one year [77]. Important factors in the decision was the potential risk to health and safety caused by protestors committing the acts set out in the order [34, 40-42]. Furthermore, the injunction was held to strike a fair balance between the important rights of the defendants and the rights of the claimant. The injunction does not remove the rights of the defendants to assemble and express their opposition to the fossil fuel industry. All that is prohibited is the specified deliberate tortious conduct carried out as part of an agreement and with the intention of harming the claimant’s lawful business interests [59-60].

On 23 May 2022 the libel trial of Wright v McCormack was heard before Chamberlain J. The dispute relates to fourteen tweets published by McCormack and words spoken by him in a YouTube video, which, according to Wright, allege that Wright fraudulently claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin. Read 5RB’s summary of the issues here.

On 24 May 2022 Nicklin J heard an application in the case of Hayden v Associated Newspapers.

On 26 May 2022, Nicklin J heard an application in the case of Blake v Fox.  On the same day Nicklin J heard a pre-trial review in the case of Gooderson v Qureshi.

As already mentioned, on 27 May 2022 Fancourt J handed down judgment in the case of Various Claimants v MGN Ltd [2022] EWHC 1222 (Ch)

On 27 May 2022, Saini J handed down judgment in the case of Smith v Talk Talk Telecom Group plc [2022] EWHC 1311 (QB) [pdf]


On 1 June 2022, the IAPP Managing Director Isabelle Roccia and European Commission Deputy Head of Unit for Data Protection Karolina Mojzesowicz will be discussing GDPR implementation as it approaches its fourth anniversary, and the connections between the GDPR and proposals for the Data Governance Act, Digital Markets Act, Digital Services Act and others. More information here.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


On 24 May 2022, The Sydney Morning Herald had an editorial claiming that defamation law needed to change in order to allow freer speech, while acknowledging that there have been recent changes to Australia’s defamation law as part of the first stage of reforms to the national, uniform defamation laws. This includes the new requirement of serious harm to reputation and the new public interest defence. Read David Rolph’s commentary on the piece, including his analysis of injurious falsehood, here.

The Guardian covers the latest delays in the defamation trial between ex-soldier Ben Roberts-Smith and the Age, Canberra Times and Sydney Morning Herald over allegations that he committed war crimes while on tour in Afghanistan.


On 25 May 2022, judgment was handed down in Seymour v Nole, 2022 BCSC 867. The dispute involved mutual allegations of sexual battery, and a claim of defamation. Ms Seymour was a teacher who alleged that Mr Nole raped her. Ms Seymour further alleged that Mr Nole’s mother, Ms Marion, helped cover up her son’s actions by alleging that Ms Seymour was in a consensual sexual relationship with Mr Nole. Mr Nole denied the allegations of sexual battery, and asserted that Ms Seymour consented to the sexual activity, or alternatively, that he held a reasonable belief in her consent. He further counterclaimed against Ms Seymour, alleging that she enticed him into having a sexual relationship with her when he was a minor and seeks damages against Ms Seymour for sexual battery. Held, Ms Seymour did not consent to have sex with Mr Nole, nor did the defendant have a reasonable belief in consent. The defamation claim on three of the four instances complained of were made out, with damages of $50,000 awarded to Ms Seymour.

The appeal against an order dismissing the appellant’s motion to dismiss the respondent’s defamation action under s. 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43, Ontario’s “anti-SLAPP” provision was dismissed in Dent-X Canada v. Houde, 2022 ONCA 414.

The Norton Rose Fulbright Data Protection Report distils the critical lessons from the Federal Court’s recent decision in Australian Securities and Investments Commission v RI Advice Group Pty Ltd [2022] FCA 496 (pdf) and sets out the practical actions to be taken by Boards and executive management.


The Workplace Relations Commission has heard that the Guinness maker Diageo carried out covert surveillance and interviewed more than 70 publicans in an investigation into keg deliveries that led to 15 workers being sacked by its delivery contractor. Eleven drivers and have taken unfair dismissal complaints against Shannon Transport & Warehousing Company Unlimited. The Irish Times has more information here.


The Ukraine Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights has issued guidance for the protection of personal data under martial law, amid the Russian invasion. The guidance included potential restrictions on the human right to privacy and legal grounds for the processing of personal data by government agencies, updated responsibilities to protect personal data for owners and managers, legal grounds for organizations involved in charitable aid to citizens, how to protect data from cybercriminals and how to protect data from fraudulent activity, the IAPP reports.

United States

The jury deliberations have begun in the defamation trial between actor Jonny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard over allegations of domestic violence, the BBC, Sky News, and TIME report. Closing arguments were made on Friday 27 May 2022, summarised by Good Morning America. The Independent explains what happens next.

On 26 May 2022, Access Now, Immigrant Defense Project, Just Futures Law, and over 35 human rights organizations sent a letter to Amazon Web Services calling on the company to end its agreement to host the United States Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database. The letter was sent in coordination with a protest to be held today outside Amazon’s annual Amazon Web Services Summit against the corporation’s growing surveillance network, led by For Us Not Amazon, La ColectiVA, MediaJustice, and the Athena Coalition. Access Now has more information here.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts 

We are not aware of any media law cases listed for hearing during the legal vacation.

Reserved Judgments

Wright v McCormack, heard on 23 May 2022 (Chamberlain J).

Vardy v Rooney, heard on 10-13 , and 16, 17 and 19 May 2022 (Steyn J).

BW Legal Services v Trustpilot A/S, heard 17 and 18 May 2022 (Tipples J)

 LCG v. OVD, heard on 4 May 2022 (Murray J).

 XXX v Persons Unknown , heard on 12 April 2022 (Chamberlain J).

 Banks v Cadwalladr 14, 17 to 19 and 21 January 2022 (Steyn J).

 Goldsmith v Bissett-Powell, heard on 13 January 2022 (Julian Knowles J).

 Driver v Crown Prosecution Service, heard on 8 December 2021 (Julian Knowles J).

 Haviland v The Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Ltd., heard on 27 July 2021 (Murray J).

 Masarir v Kingdom of Saudi Arabia., heard 15 and 16 June 2021 (Julian Knowles J).

This Round Up was compiled by Colette Allen who is the host of Newscast on Dr Thomas Bennett and Professor Paul Wragg’s The Media Law Podcast (@MediaLawPodcast).