On 27 to 30 March 2023, Nicklin J will hear applications in the unlawful information gathering claims brought by a number of high profile figures, including Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Prince Harry, against the publishers of the Daily Mail.

The claims were issued on 6 October 2022 by Hamlins Solicitors on behalf of six individuals: Baroness Doreen Lawrence; Prince Harry; Sir Elton John and David Furnish; Elizabeth Hurley; and Sadie Frost.  The background is covered by Yahoo! News and Sky News.

The Guardian, Mirror and Independent newspapers were excluded from the Home Secretary’s most recent trip to Rwanda in which Suella Braverman reaffirmed the government’s commitment to its migrant policy. A Guardian spokesperson said, “We are concerned that Home Office officials are deliberately excluding specific journalists from key briefings and engagements.” Journalists from the Sun, Express, Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail were among those invited to attend. The Press Gazette and Index on Censorship reported on the exclusion of the media outlets.

Debates around the data processing practices of the Chinese-owned app, TikTok, continued to swirl this week as CEO Shou Zi Chew testified at a US congressional hearing. During the hearing, Chew confirmed that Chinese engineers have access to US data. The app is facing a complete ban in the US due to fears that it is used as a tool by the Chinese authorities to spy and spread propaganda. This follows the app being prohibited on all parliamentary and City Hall devices in the UK, on the phones of government employees in France and an outright ban for all users in India. The BBC, Independent, and AP News covered the Congressional hearing.

 Internet and Social Media

The Press Gazette reports that the UK government is planning to introduce legislation which would require Google and Facebook to pay for news content. The legislation would follow similar moves in Australia under the News Media Bargaining Code 2021 and Canada’s Online News Act.

Mischon de Reya has a blog post analysing the implications of the first civil claim for sexual “image-based abuse” in the recently decided case of FGX v Stuart Gaunt [2023] EWHC 419 (KB). Read Inforrm’s coverage of the judgment here.

 Data privacy and data protection

The ICO has issued the London Borough of Lewisham Council with an enforcement notice for its failure to respond to 338 overdue requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Despite the 20-day statutory time limit to respond, 221 of the requests were over 12 months old. The ICO’s director of FOI and Transparency said that the “Council’s failure to comply with the law erodes trust in democracy and open government.” Under the enforcement notice, the Council will be required to respond to all outstanding requests more than 20-days old within 6 months from the date of the notice.


Civil rights groups, including Liberty and StopWatch, have published an open letter to the Manchester Mayor and Chief Constable of Greater Manchester asking them to investigate the use of gang surveillance in cases invoking the common law doctrine of joint enterprise. In the wake of the high-profile Manchester 10 case, the signatories argued that the misuse of digital evidence exacerbates the risks of abuse of the law. The Open Rights Group published a blog post examining the potential miscarriages of justice that may occur as a result of gang surveillance.

Privacy campaigners have called on the Mayor of London to stop the Metropolitan police from being able to access ANPR cameras used by the ULEZ scheme. Over 300 ANPR cameras have already been installed under the scheme and a total of 2,750 are expected to be added by its launch date in August 2023. The Telegraph and Daily Mail reported on the planned use of the cameras.

Newspaper Journalism and regulation

Under new draft guidance by the College of Policing, police forces in England and Wales may soon be given the option to not release the names of people charged with offences, the Press Gazette reports. Currently, the guidance states that suspects charged with offences should be named, however the draft guidance tells forces that they “must consider their data protection obligations as well as the need for open justice and transparency.”

Journalists have expressed concerns that the revised guidelines would undermine the principle of open justice. The News Media Association (NMA) and National Union of Journalists issued statements stating that the changes would “weaken the flow of information from police forces to the general public, undermining the public right to know.” Read the NMA’s press release here.

The Hacked Off blog has published an opinion article which uses the new Channel 4 documentary, Paula, to examine whether journalistic intrusion into the private lives of individuals has changed since the 1990s. Read the article, which argues that reform is long overdue, here.

The LSE Media Blog has published an article which asks whether news organisations should be responsible for teaching news literacy. The article highlights the benefits of involvement in education for media companies.

Intellectual Property

The General Court declined to register the word mark “F–KING AWESOME” on the basis that it was not sufficiently distinctive to be registered as a trademark in the EU.

After the application was rejected by the EUIPO and EUIPO Appeal Board, the Skateboarding and fashion brand, FA World Entertainment Inc, took the case to the General Court who held that “Such an expression is very well known in informal language, which removes any originality in relation to the goods at issue.” Mischon de Reya analysed the decision in a blog post.


Statements in open court and apologies

There were no statements in open court or apologies made last week.

New Issued cases

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

Last week in the courts

On 20 March 2023, there was a hearing in the case of Collins v Crossrail Limited and others. The case, which was settled out of court, involved a claim that an electrician who worked on the Crossrail project was blacklisted for raising safety concerns in February 2015 about a makeshift narrow walkway with no handrails. Five construction companies agreed to pay the damages and legal fees to the claimant and read an open statement at the High Court. My London reported on the hearing.

On 20 and 21 March 2023, there was a hearing in the case of MBR Acres Limited and others v FREE THE MBR BEAGLES (formerly Stop Animal Cruelty Huntingdon).

On 21 and 22 March 2023, there was a hearing before High Court Judge Heather Williams in the case of Prismall v (1) Google (2) Deep Mind. The claim concerns a class action lawsuit which accuses Google and its AI department of misusing patient data stored by a kidney injury alert app. The patient records were used to test the app and, as the data processing took place without the patients’ consent or knowledge, the claimants argue that they suffered a loss of control of their private information. However, Google and DeepMind argue that the case should be dismissed following the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Lloyd v Google LLC [2021] UKSC 50, in which it was held that uniform damages could not be obtained for each member of the class [148]. The defendants also contend that most of the 1.6 million individuals in the class action did not suffer any damage.

On 22 March 2023, the defendant’s application for summary judgement was dismissed in the case of Frati v Bowen-Carter [2023] EWHC 627 (KB). The case concerns a google review published by the defendant on the claimant’s website after having undergone plastic surgery procedures at his clinic in November 2020. The defendant sought summary judgement on the basis that there was no publication, or alternatively no substantial publication, of the words complained of. Judge Lewis found that the claimant had a realistic prospect of success in establishing facts on which publication could be inferred and therefore dismissed the application [42].

On 23 March 2023, there was a hearing in the case of Otantik Restoran Ve Otelcilik Hiz AS and another v Behiry.

On 24 March 2023, there was a hearing in the case of Hayden v Family Education Trust.

Media law in other jurisdictions


On 22 March 2023, judgement was handed down in the case of Kerslake v Sunol (Discrimination) [2023] ACAT 18, in favour of the applicant. The respondent had published a number of posts online, vilifying the applicant on the basis of their sexuality. The tribunal ordered that the posts found to be vilification must be removed and not repeated. The respondent was ordered to post a statement of the outcome of the proceedings and compensate the applicant in the sum of $4,000 for the vilification.

On 23 March 2023, Gibson DCJ refused the defendant’s application for the serious harm element in the plaintiff’s claim to be determined before the trial in the case of GRC Project Pty Ltd v Lai [2023] NSWDC 63, on the basis that the plaintiffs established special circumstances in accordance with s10A(5) of the Defamation Act 2005.

On the same day, O’Callaghan J made an order for costs in the case of Watkins v Tatana [2023] FCA 248, in favour of the Respondents.


On 20 March 2023, the Supreme Court of British Columbia ordered the plaintiffs to pay the reasonable costs of the defendant on a full indemnity basis, in the case of Mawhinney v Stewart, 2023 BCSC 419, reasoning that the action lay closer to a SLAPP than a legitimate contest between reputation and public expression [15].


Investigative journalist, Romain Molina, is facing a defamation lawsuit by the former Haiti football federation president, Yves Jean-Bart. Molina exposed accusations of sexual abuse of underage players in the Haiti Football Federation under Jean-Bart’s leadership A hearing is scheduled for 27 March 2023 in Paris. Following its own investigation into the sexual abuse allegations, FIFA banned Jean-Bart for life in November 2021 stating that the sexual exploitation that occurred under his tenure was “inexcusable, a disgrace.” Human Rights Watch reported on the lawsuit.


Senior opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi, has been disqualified as an MP after he was found guilty of defamatory remarks against India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and sentenced for two years in prison. The politician made the remarks in a 2019 speech in which he referred to two fugitive businessmen, also called Modi, and asked ‘why do all thieves have Modi as their surname?’ The BBC, Al Jazeera, Sky News, Spectator and the Guardian cover the story. 


Privacy International have published a report examining the role of technology and data in Kenya’s 2022 election. The publication provides an in-depth analysis of the Data Protection Act and its implications for Kenyan elections and explains the election technology and data processing which took place.

United States

Utah’s governor, Spencer Cox has signed two new laws that ban under 18s from using social media without parental consent. The bills will give parents complete access to their children’s online accounts and will impose a curfew blocking access between 22:30-06:30 unless adjusted by parents. The bills are due to take effect on 1 March 2024. Utah is the first state to implement such measures, though Arkansas, Ohio, Louisiana and Texas are considering similar proposals. Governor Cox tweeted, “We’re no longer willing to let social media companies continue to harm the mental health of our youth.” The Guardian, BBC, Politico, New York Times and NPR reported on the bills. However, the legislation also faced backlash from advocacy groups, including Common Sense Media, who warned that the parental access provisions could deprive children of privacy protections online.

The Center for Internet and Society published a blog post examining the changes to the National Cybersecurity Strategy under the Biden administration. The article suggests that the updated strategy aims to reduce the cybersecurity burden on individuals and smaller organisations, but falls short of promoting information sharing and addressing specific tactics used by attackers.

Research and Resources

Next week in the courts

As already mentioned on 27 to 30 March 2023, Nicklin J will hear applications in the cases of Various Claimants v Associated Newspapers.

On 27 March 2023, Heather Williams J will hear an application in the case of Kirk and Others v Associated Newspapers.

On 28 March 2023, there will be a hearing in the case of Brown v Channel 5. On the same day, there will be a hearing in the case of Leeds and Another v Warwick.

On 30 March 2023, there will be a hearing in the case of Packham CBE v Wightman and others.

On 31 March 2023, there will be a hearing in the case of LCG and others v OVD and others.

 Reserved judgements

Prismall v (1) Google (2) Deep Mind, heard 21 and 22 March 2023 (Heather Williams J).

Duke of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Limited, heard 17 March 2023 (Nicklin J)

AEP and others v The Labour Party, 21 to 23 February 2023 (Chamberlain J)

Hay v Cresswell, heard 20 to 23 February 2023 (Heather Williams J)

Amersi v Leslie, heard 10 January 2023 (Nicklin J)

Aaronson v Stones, heard 12-15 December 2022 (Julian Knowles J)

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

This Round Up was compiled by Jasleen Chaggar who is studying the BPC at the University of Law.