The new Easter legal term begins this week on Tuesday 18 April 2023 and finishes on Friday 26 May 2023.

The $1.6bn Fox News defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems is due to begin on Monday 17 April 2023. However, last week The Guardian reported that Judge Davis had sanctioned the news company for withholding records from the claimants until the eve of the trial. The evidence included recordings of former Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, admitting that he had no evidence to support his allegations of election fraud before appearing on the news channel. More information is available from ABC News, BBC News and The Washington Post.

ChatGPT falsely accused an American law professor of sexual harassment when asked to generate a list of legal scholars who had committed sexual harassment. The AI chatbot wrongly accused Jonathan Turley of making sexually suggestive comments during a class trip and attempting to touch a student, citing a 2018 article in the Post. In fact, the trip never took place and the Post article never existed. An OpenAI spokesperson said in a statement, “improving factual accuracy is a significant focus for us, and we are making progress.” The Washington Post and the Independent covered the story.

A glitch in the Labour party’s phone-banking system may have resulted in the harvesting and of millions of voter’s sensitive information, The Guardian reports. Experts have warned that the data, which included postcodes and voting intentions, could be used for targeted election interference by campaigners or hostile states. A Labour spokesperson said, “as soon as this question was brought to our attention, the system was taken down for investigation.”

Internet and Social Media

The ICO has fined TikTok in the sum of £12.7million for breaching data protection law by processing the data of 1.4 million users under the age of 13 who were using the platform without parental consent. The commission found that TikTok did not do enough to check who was using the app and did not take measures to prevent those who were underage. The fine is one of the largest issues by the ICO. The BBC, The Guardian, Politico and Reuters reported on the fine.

TV personality Stephen Bear faces civil proceedings for loss of earning brought by his ex-girlfriend Georgia Harrison after he was found guilty of voyeurism and of disclosing private sexual films of them. The Brett Wilson Media blog discusses the types of damages that are recoverable in civil claims for image-based abuse.

Data privacy and data protection

Tesla ex-employees reported that videos captured by cameras in vehicles sold by the company were routinely shared among staff in an internal messaging system between 2019 and 2022. The cameras were installed to assist with driving, but the shared footage included invasive and sensitive material, such as a customer approaching the car whilst naked and a car hitting a child at high speed. Former employees revealed that the computer program used by the company could identify the location of recordings and that some took place even when cars were parked and switched off. The Independent, Forbes and Reuters covered the privacy breach.

The European Data Protection Board have created a dedicated task force on ChatGPT. The aim of the task force is to foster cooperation and the exchange of information relating to possible enforcement actions conducted by data protection authorities.


The South Wales Police are set to resume using live facial recognition, following research from the National Physical Laboratory, which found that there was a substantial improvement in the accuracy of the technology. The report stated that, on a specific setting, correct matches were made 89% of the time and there was no statistically significant gender or race bias. The force halted its use of the technology in 2020 following a Court of Appeal judgement that found its use interfered with privacy and data protection law. Forbes, ITV News, The Independent and The Guardian covered the readoption of the technology by the police force. However civil rights groups including Liberty, Big Brother Watch and Amnesty have condemned its use as “suspicionless mass surveillance that turns us into walking ID cards.” Caroline Russell, leader of the Green Party in the London Assembly, said that the report failed to account for the ethical issues of using live facial recognition technology.

Newspaper Journalism and regulation

The LSE Media Blog has published an article which explores the relationship between media visibility and parliamentary speeches, arguing that representatives who take an active role in legislative debates receive more news coverage. However, the research found that media access is also determined by a politician’s seniority, the closeness of their constituency to the capital and whether they belong to an incumbent party. The article suggests that these hierarchies in media access contribute to inequality in politics.

 Intellectual Property

The UK Intellectual Property Office released updated guidance on their approach to classifying NFTs, virtual goods and services provided in the metaverse.  NFTs will not be accepted as a classification in their own right without an indication of the asset to which the NFT relates. Additionally, virtual goods will be treated in the same way as physical goods with “downloadable virtual clothing, footwear or headgear” being identified as acceptable examples. Osborne Clarke and Bristows published articles summarising the guidance.


Statements in open court and apologies

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

 New Issued cases

There were two new defamation cases issued in the Media and Communications List last week.

 Last week in the courts

On 4 April 2023, judgement on costs was handed down by Justice Murray in the case of Parkes v Hall and Earnshaw [2023] EWHC 794 (KB). The disposal hearing followed an order by Sir Andrew Nicol, dated 22 October 2021 striking out the defence filed by each defendant and ordering judgement for the claimant.

 Media law in other jurisdictions


On 5 April 2023, Hill J ordered the defendant to pay the plaintiff’s costs on an indemnity basis in the case of Rayney v Reynolds [No 4] [2022] WASC 360. This follows judgement entered on 31 October 2022 against Dr Rayney who made defamatory remarks which implied that Mr Rayney had killed his late wife and got away with it. The plaintiff was awarded damages of $350,000 for non‑economic loss.

The Federal Court has issued a permanent injunction against social media influencer, ASX Wolf, who gives financial advice to paid subscribers. The court found that the influencer could not give stock tips without an Australian Financial Services Licence and he was ordered to pay the legal bills of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, who filed the claim. Financial Review and The Australian covered the case.


On 12 April 2023, judgement was handed down in the case of Alberta Health Services and Sarah Nunn v Johnston, 2023 ABKB 209. The court had to determine whether the non-elected public entity, Alberta Health Services (AHS), could bring a defamation claim. Justice Feasby held that “the absolute privilege to criticize government extends to unelected government bodies” and therefore, AHS did not have the right to sue in defamation [48].

However, the court found that former mayoral candidate and anti-vaxxer, Mr Johnston continually harassed and defamed AHS employee, Ms Nunn. The court awarded Ms Nunn $400,000 in general damages for defamation and harassment and a further $250,000 in aggravated damages. In addition, Justice Feasby issued a permanent injunction, describing the defendant as “unrepentant” and stating “I have no confidence that the damages award will function as any sort of disincentive to him continuing to defame and harass Ms Nunn” [145]. CBC and the Calgary Herald reported on the case.


The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee has raised concerns over the draft EU-US data transfer framework, arguing that the European Commission should not grant the US an adequacy decision which would class the country’s level of personal data protection as being equivalent to that of the EU. The Committee predicted that the framework would likely be invalidated by the Court of Justice of the EU due to insufficient safeguards for EU citizens against the bulk collection of personal data and unclear rules on data retention. TechCrunch and EurActiv covered the development.


A Sessions Court in Surat is set to pronounce its verdict on opposition leader Rahul Gandhi’s appeal against his conviction in the defamation case on 20 April. The politician was found guilty of making defamatory remarks against Prime Minister Modi in a 2019 speech. The basis of the appeal is that the lower court failed to consider key evidence and the broader context of the comments, which his legal team argue were political in nature and therefore protected under free speech laws. The appeal suspends Gandhi’s conviction meaning that he can continue to hold public office. The Times of India, BBC, The Guardian and Bloomberg report.


The East Jakarta district court has begun the trial against two human rights defenders who face allegations of defamation by a Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs. The charges arose out of a discussion on YouTube between the activists about a report that suggested the Indonesian government had conducted illegal military operations in Papua’s Central Highlands to control profitable gold deposits. If convicted, the pair face up to four years in prison. International Federation for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch condemned the criminal charges.


Iranian police have announced plans to use smart technology in public places to identify and prosecute women who are not wearing the hijab, Iran International and The Guardian reports. In a statement, the police said they would “take action to identify norm-breaking people by using tools and smart cameras.” Car owners will also be alerted by text if any of their passengers violate the mandatory dress code.


Russian opposition activist, Kara-Murza, is set to receive a verdict from the Moscow City Court for charges of treason on 17 April 2023. The Prosecution have argued for a 25-year sentence based on the defendant’s public criticism of Putin’s government and the invasion of Ukraine. The trial has been closed-door, though The Washington Post published Kara-Murza’s final statement before the court. Radio Free Europe reported on the upcoming verdict and Human Rights Watch have called for his unconditional release from what they describe as arbitrary detention.

Research and Resources

 Next week in the courts

We are not aware of any media law cases listed in the forthcoming week.  On 19 April 2023, Linden J will hear an application in the case of RHL v VMB.

Reserved judgements

Various Claimants v Associated Newspapers, heard 27 to 30 March 2023 (Nicklin J)

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.