Johnny Depp has won his libel case against his ex-wife Amber Heard over her Washington Post Op-Ed in which she said that she was the victim of domestic abuse. Explaining why the outcome likely differs from the 2020 UK judgment against The Sun over similar allegations, Persephone Bridgman Baker, a partner at Carter-Ruck, points to the use of “more evidence in the US proceedings about Heard’s credibility, on which the judge in the UK placed little importance. While the judge in the UK proceedings decided Heard was a credible witness, that additional evidence may have swung a jury.”

The BBC also has an article that attempts to contextualise the different outcomes in the UK and US. The Independent, CNN and Daily Mail are just some of the many news outlets to cover the verdict. The Guardian reports that Heard plans to appeal.  The Guardian, New Yorker, NBC, and PBS have articles expressing concern at the chilling effect this outcome could have on victims of domestic abuse.

The Information Commissioner has called on the criminal justice sector to stop collecting excessive amounts of personal information from victims of rape and serious sexual assault cases. The Opinion informs the sector how to use victims’ personal data in compliance with data protection laws.

The Guardian has an article assessing the legal quagmire that leaves the 29,725 people born by egg or sperm donation between 1 August 1991 and 1 April 2005 unable to learn about their parentage because donors were given life-long anonymity.

Internet and Social Media

The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating whether Google’s practices may distort competition in the digital advertising technology market, including its ad exchange with third-party publisher ad servers. The Minister of State for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure has also announced an Online Advertising Programme will review regulatory frameworks of paid digital advertising. The consultation, working in conjunction with measures introduced in the forthcoming Online Safety Bill, will build on the self-regulatory framework, strengthen current and developing mechanisms, and equip regulators with tools to meet challenges.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Panopticon Blog has an article on Saini J’s latest ruling on claims arising out of external cyber-attacks in Graeme Smith & others v TalkTalk Telecom Group [2022] EWHC 1311 (QB). The decision to strike out the claimants’ MPI case is in line with the earlier judgment Warren. While the “clever pleader” can recast the claimants’ case in terms of acts by TalkTalk, not omissions, this would be a matter of presentation rather than substance. In reasserting his conclusion from Warren, Saini J confirmed that the relevant conduct in claims of this nature is the criminal third-party actors, not the misuse of private information by the defendants [49]. The second important take-away from the judgment is Saini J’s apparent acceptance, in theory, of the claimants’ claim for “unconfirmed breaches.”

A person’s voice can allow machine learning to guess a person’s age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and more. Users’ “voiceprints” could be used for targeted advertising or the location where they are stored could be used by hackers to impersonate the user. Privacy researchers are investigating methods such as anonymization or obfuscation to protect user voice data. Wired has more information here.

Privacy International has published its response to the DCMS’ consultation on Data Protection reform in the UK, read more here.


A report published by the Center for Democracy and Technology found that people with disabilities have experienced discrimination, bias and oppression as a result of automated decision-making technology. Researchers have revealed the specific harms and disproportionate negative impacts surveillance and algorithmic tools can have on disabled people in education, the legal system, health care and the workplace.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The BBC’s executive complaints unit has ruled that an article headlined “We’re being pressured into sex by some trans women” did not meet the required accuracy standards. Although it was a “legitimate piece of journalism overall” the headline gave the “misleading impression” that “the focus of the article would be on pressure applied by trans women, whereas its focus was at least as much on internalised pressure experienced by some lesbians as a result of a climate of opinion (as they perceived it) within the LGBT community, rather than pressure directly applied by trans women”. Read the full ruling here and the Press Gazette summary here.


There were no new IPSO rulings published last week.

New Issued Cases

There were two defamation (libel and slander), one breach of privacy and one harassment claims issued on the media and communications list last week.

Last Week in the Courts

We are not aware of any media-related cases or judgments that were heard or delivered last week.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


The Guardian has a comprehensive article “Ben Roberts-Smith: a war hero’s reputation at stake in Australia’s defamation ‘trial of the century’“.  The evidence has now been completed after 99 days and there will be a break until 18 July 2022 for final submissions.

Former Labour MP Kristina Keneally’s has been forced to restore her social media accounts despite her vow to move offline as she leaves political life to ensure her apology for “false and defamatory” material remains available.

The head of the Queensland police union has threatened legal action against a prominent domestic violence academic and her employer, after she claimed in an interview that the union “protected” a policing culture that was systemically failing to safeguard victims of domestic abuse, the Guardian reports.


Google has stepped up its campaign against the Online News Act, insisting that the legislation could “break” its search engine. Colin McKay, who leads public policy and government relations for Google in Canada, wrote to every MP and senator to express his company’s concerns about the legislation, the Press Gazette reports.


The EU’s top telecom regulator BEREC is set to issue new net neutrality rules, after the European Court of Justice found that discriminatory zero-rating plans such as T-Mobile’s StreamOn and Vodafone’s Pass violate Europe’s net neutrality law, the Centre of Internet and Society reports.

DLA Piper has provided a summary of the 5 things you need to know about the EU Commission’s draft Regulation on the European Health Data Space.

DLA Piper also has an article on the European Council and Parliament’s recent agreement on measures for high common level of cybersecurity across the EU (NIS2), which is set to replace the current Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS Directive).


The French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) has published its Annual Activity Report for 2021. The report notably shows a significant increase in the CNIL’s activity. Read the Hunton Andrews Kurth summary here.

Hong Kong

Following the November 2021 consultation on updating Hong Kong’s copyright regime, the Government reported that the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2022 was gazetted on 27 May 2022. A copy of the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2022 can be found here.  IPKat’s summary can be read here.

DLA Piper provides a summary of the recently published Recommended Model Contractual Clauses for cross-border transfers of personal data.


In an open letter to the Irish Times, privacy experts have raised concerns over the use of facial recognition technologies by the Garda, accusing them of being “unnecessary and disproportionate,” and potentially leading to chilling effects.  Read the UCD Centre for Digital Policy’s summary here.

Meta is facing a “potentially large fine” from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission over children’s data processing violations on its Instagram platform, the Irish Times reports.


Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) has entered into force after three years of delays. The PDPA, originally enacted in May 2019, provides for a one-year grace period, with the main operative provisions of the law originally set to come into force in 2020.

Research and Resources

 Next Week in the Courts 

On 8 June 2022 there will be a directions hearing the case of Hills v Fomukong Epse Tabe before Collins Rice J.

On 9 June 2022 there will be the trial of preliminary issue in the case of The Duke of Sussex v Associated Newspapers before Nicklin J.

On the same day there will an application in the Soriano v Societe d’exploitation de l’Hebdomadaire Le Point before Collins Rice J.

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).