Arron Banks has been granted permission to appeal against Steyn J’s decision in his unsuccessful libel action against journalist Carole Cadwalladr. On 24 June 2022, one of five grounds for permission to appeal was successful, related to the serious harm test post-publication of the Electoral Commission report that found no evidence of law breaking by Banks.
Steyn J said the public interest defence fell away after the Commission’s statement, but that – by that stage – the continuing publication of the Ted talk was not continuing to cause serious harm to the claimant’s reputation. He was granted permission to appeal on the question as to whether Steyn J was correct to say that the serious harm requirement needed to be satisfied at the time of the Commission’s statement. The Guardian reports.
The Transparency Project has an article on domestic abuse and defamation, following a UK trial in which the claimant accuses the defendant of causing serious harm to his reputation by alleging domestic abuse. The article outlines the case as it progresses in order to reassure anyone worried about the aftermath of the Depp v Heard decision in the US.
Details of a Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act were revealed last week, with Justice Secretary Dominic Raab promising it will “reinforce freedom of speech”. The Bill promises to introduce a stronger test for courts to consider before they can order journalists to disclose their sources. The Press Gazette has more information here. The ECHR Blog has an article on the principle of subsidiarity as one rationale for the introduction of a Bill of Rights, arguing that, in the name of fostering subsidiarity, the UK’s plans for change would partially dismantle the domestic mechanisms that promote it, and would significantly weaken ECHR protection in the UK.
Internet and Social Media
Meta’s Instagram is piloting an age verification scheme with US users to better enforce age restrictions and bolster children’s online safety. Verification methods for users changing their age from under 18 to over 18 include uploading IDs with a 30-day retention period, recording a selfie that deletes after verification or confirmation of age from three 18-plus users, Axios reports.
Technology companies including Meta and Microsoft, as well as groups like the World Wide Web Consortium and others, have joined to create the Metaverse Standards Forum to build compatibility and industry standards, Reuters reports.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published the UK government’s long-awaited response to the consultation on the future of the UK data protection regime. The Norton Rose Fulbright Data Protection Report summary and analysis can be read here.
The Mishcon de Reya Blog has an article on the impact of the government’s planned data protection reform for the charitable and non-profit sector.
The Panopticon Blog has an article on the use of group litigation orders (“GLO”) by those representing data subjects affected by a data breach, asking whether GLO is a cost effective idea?
The WHO has published its interim guidance on surveillance, case investigation and contact tracing for monkeypox. Read the overview here.
There were no new IPSO rulings last week.
New Issued Cases
There were two defamation (libel and slander) claims filed on the media and communications list last week.
Last Week in the Courts
On 20 June 2022, judgment was handed down by Deputy Master Toogood QC in Jabbar & Anor v Aviva Insurance UK Ltd & Anor  EWHC 1383 (QB). The Defendants were entitled to summary judgment on the defamation claim as the communication between the first defendant and Knightsbridge Solicitors – which asked ““The GMC have confirmed that you can prepare medico-legal reports only if the report does not require her to examine or have contact with patients. Is that true. Was this followed” – was covered by absolute privilege ; alternatively, it was covered by qualitative privilege . The was a 5RB case comment on the decision.
On 20-21 June 2022, there were applications in MBR Acres Limited and others v Free the MBR Beagles (formerly Stop Animal Cruelty Huntingdon) before Nicklin J.
On 21 June 2022 Collins Rice J handed down judgment in the case of GJE v SLE  EWHC 1592 (QB), This was the return date of misuse of private information and harassment injunction which was continued.
On 20-24 June 2022, the trial in the case of Robert Lee v Vanessa Brown was heard before Collins Rice J.
On 22 June 2022, there was an application in Koutrouchi v Currie Appeal before Johnson J.
On 23-24 June 2022, there were applications in Piepenbrock v LSE before Heather Williams J.
As mentioned above, 24 June 2022, there were applications in Banks v Cadwalladr before Steyn J.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Peter Dutton has sought leave to appeal in the high court against his loss in the defamation case he brought against Shane Bazzi, questioning whether there had been a “miscarriage of justice.” The Guardian has more information here.
Tolga Kumova’s defamation hearing over tweets by the Stock Swami Twitter account which claimed he engaged in insider trading, and “pump and dump” share schemes has begun. The Canberra Times covers the opening remarks.
It has been confirmed that Bill C-11 can be used to pressure Internet Platforms to manipulate algorithms, the Michael Geist blog reports.
The Norton Rose Fulbright Data Protection Report has published a summary of Bill C-26: An Act respecting cyber security, amending the Telecommunications Act and making consequential amendments to other Acts, introduced on June 14 2022.
On 22 June, the First Preliminary Hearing in the Inquiry into the Retirement of the Former Commissioner of Police was held in Gibraltar. The Inquiry was established by the Governor of Gibraltar, His Excellency Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, to inquire into the reasons and circumstances leading to Mr Ian McGrail ceasing to be Commissioner of Police in June 2020 by taking early retirement. Read 5RB’s summary here.
A Belfast law firm and a number of its partners will begin further defamation proceedings against the Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, over an article written by Lewis on the Troubles legacy issue, published on the Conservative Home website on 9 June 2022. The BBC, Belfast Telegraph and ITV report.
Reporters Without Borders has concluded that photojournalist Maks Levin was likely executed by Russian troops. The Press Gazette has more information here.
Last week, President Biden established the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse, which appears will be focusing particularly on online harms which “disproportionately affect women, girls, people of colour and LGBTQI+ individuals” with “technology-facilitated gender-based violence” its top priority. The Panopticon Blog’s response can be read here.
Research and Resources
- Young, Hilary, Permanent Injunctions in Defamation Actions (2022), University of New Brunswick – Fredericton – Faculty of Law
- Young, Hilary, Canadian Anti-SLAPP Laws in Action (2022), University of New Brunswick – Fredericton – Faculty of Law
- Smith, Robert and Perry, Mark and Smith, Nucharee Nuchkoom, ‘Fake News’ in Asean: Legislative Responses (2021), Journal of ASEAN Studies, 9(2)
- O’Byrne, Shannon and Levin, Avner, It Shouldn’t be Small Potatoes: The Future of Civil Damage Awards under Canada’s Personal Information Protection Legislation. Part Two: Inadequate PIPEDA Damages and the Way Forward (2022), Forthcoming in the June 2022 issue of The Advocates’ Quarterly
- Fan, Mary, The Hidden Harms of Privacy Penalties (2022), UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 56
- Kemp, Katharine, How to Track Consumers Who Don’t Want to be Tracked: Examples from Australia’s Largest Media Companies and their Suppliers (2022), University of New South Wales (UNSW) – Faculty of Law
- Animashaun, Sijuade, Tearing down the ‘Walled Gardens’ among China’s Tech Giants (2022)
- Kuch, Paweł, IoT Legislation’s Loopholes – The Governmental Blessing for Statutory Surveillance (2022), Journal of Data Protection & Privacy – Special Edition, Henry Stewart Publications
- Hartzog, Woodrow and Richards, Neil M., Legislating Data Loyalty (2022), 97 Notre Dame Law Review Reflection 356
Next Week in the Courts
On 27 June 2022, there will be a pre-trial review in Millett v. Corbyn before Nicklin J. The trial is listed for 15 days, beginning on 10 October 2022. Read 5RB’s summary of the issues here.
On the same day Nicklin J hear an application in the libel claim of Amersi v. Leslie.
On 27 June 2002 Julian Knowles J will hand down judgment in Goldsmith v Bissett-Powell (heard on 13 January 2022).
On 28 June 2022, there will be a hearing/application in Emmy Tayler v. Harpercollins Publishers Limited before Pepperall J.
On 29 June 2022, there will be applications in ABC and Others v London Borough of Lambeth and Others v London Borough of Lambeth before Nicklin J.
On 30 June 2022, there will be an application in the case of Tewari v Khetrapal & Ors before Collins Rice J.
Robert Lee v Vanessa Brown, heard on 20-24 June 2022 (Collins Rice J)
George v Cannell, heard on 14 June 2022 (Underhill V-P, Warby and Snowden LLJ)
The Duke of Sussex v Associated Newspapers, heard on 9 June 2022 (Nicklin J).
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).
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).