On 10 May 2023, Fancourt J began hearing the trial of four claims in the Mirror Group managed “hacking” litigation. The cases include those brought by the Duke of Sussex, Nikki Sanderson, Fiona Wightman and Michael Turner.

The key takeaways from the opening day of the trial include the evidence that Piers Morgan, who served as the editor of the Mirror during the period to which the claims refer, was aware of the use of unlawful information gathering. MGN have suggested that the claims are a “smear” against the company’s board members although the admitted that there is “some evidence” of unlawful practices that “warrants compensation.” The Guardian followed the trial, and SkyNews, the BBC and The Independent covered the case. 5RB mentioned the trial on its website. The trial is listed to last for 7 weeks.

Former US President, Donald Trump, was found to be liable for sexually abusing and defaming author, E. Jean Carroll, in the 1990s by a New York jury. The claimant was awarded $5 million in damages for her action in battery and defamation. The jury found that Trump had defamed Carroll by calling her claims a “hoax” and a “con job.” NBC, NPR, CNN, the New York Times, the BBC, The Independent, and Forbes covered the outcome of the trial.

The anti-monarchy campaign group, Republic have called on the government to repeal the Public Order Act 2023 which it says has “in effect robbed the UK of the right to protest.” This follows the arrest of sixty-four protestors, including 8 members of Republic, during King Charles III’s coronation last weekend. The Met’s press statement is available to read here.

Internet and Social Media

The LSE Media blog has posted a book review of Social Media and Hate by Shakuntala Banaji and Ramnath Bhat. The book uses case studies from Brazil, India, Myanmar and the UK to explore the problems of hate speech and misinformation on social media. The authors discussed the book during an LSE public event which can be watched here or listened to on this podcast.

Data privacy and data protection

DLA Piper published an article summarising the recent decision of the European Court of Justice regarding the interpretation of Article 82 of the GDPR. The article explains that although the CJEU held that infringement of the GDPR does not automatically give rise to a right to compensation, there is no threshold of seriousness for non-material damage suffered that is required to seek compensation.


On 11 May 2023, campaigners protested the GPS tracking contract awarded to Capita by the government for the provision of 24/7 GPS monitoring services to help the Home Office track the location of non-British citizens. Attending Capita’s AGM, the campaigners called on the company’s Managing Director for Electronic Monitoring to watch and respond to recorded testimonies of people fitted by the surveillance devices. Privacy International’s press release can be found here.

After finding that Hungary and Poland used surveillance software to unlawfully monitor politicians, activists and journalists, a special European Parliament committee has voted for a temporary ban on the acquisition and use of spyware until the EU regulates the spyware industry. The spyware, called Pegasus, turns phones into surveillance devices without the user’s knowledge and can copy messages and record calls. The non-binding report provided general conditions EU members should meet by the end of this year and specific recommendations for five countries where abuse of spyware has been identified. The report and recommendations will be voted on by the full Parliament at is next plenary session. The Guardian, EURActiv and Bloomberg report.

Newspaper Journalism and regulation

A study commissioned by the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity found that LGBTQ journalists face high levels of abuse and a lack of support for victims of harassment. The report revealed that 82% of the forty respondents had experienced trolling and more than half had faced homophobic harassment. Social media was found to be the primary forum for abusive messaging. The author of the report, Finbarr Toesland suggested that, “if left unchecked, hate speech and abuse against LGBTQ journalists has the potential to create a chilling effect where journalists are either uncomfortable or afraid to report on vital issues.” The Guardian, the Press Gazette and the Gay Times covered the report.

An Ofcom investigation found that the programme, which first aired on GB News last October was in breach of its broadcasting rules. GB News allowed the show’s guest, Dr Naomi Wolf, to promote serious conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine without context or challenge. Wolf’s characterisation of the vaccine roll-out as “mass murder” comparable to the actions of “doctors in pre-Nazi Germany” attracted 422 complaints. GB News was asked to attend a meeting with Ofcom to discuss its approach to compliance since this was its second significant breach of the code. Read Ofcom’s press release here and its full decision. The Independent, The Times, The Guardian and the Press Gazette reported on the outcome of the investigation.

Art, Music and Copyright

Mischon de Reya published a blog post analysing the difference between guidance published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) in relation to the trademarking of NFTs, virtual goods and services in the metaverse. The EUIPO and UKIPO have taken similar approaches in their guidance but differ in respect of NFTs as the UKIPO draws a distinction between those that relate to digital assets and those that relate to physical goods.

The fast-fashion brand Shein, has settled a copyright infringement claim brought against them by artist, Maggie Stephenson, Bloomberg Law reports. Stephenson alleged that the company sold posters copying her art without her permission.


Statements in open court and apologies

On 9 May 2023, a statement in open court was read before HHJ Lewis in the case of Embery v Grady. The claimant’s solicitor explained that the defendant, the General Secretary of the University and College Union, had defamed the claimant in tweets that falsely portrayed him as a misogynist, pervert and a liar in response to his criticism of the anti-social behaviour of passengers on his train. In an out-of-court settlement, Dr Grady agreed to pay £10,000 for tweets that accused him of bullying women and undertook not to repeat the allegations. Brett Wilson LLP published a press release about the statement on its blog. The Independent, The Telegraph, The Norwich Evening News and Times Higher Education reported on the case.

New Issued cases

There were no new cases issued in in the media and communications list last week.

Last week in the courts

On 9 May 2023, Nicklin J continued to hear the trial in the case of MBR Acres Ltd v Free MBR Beagles and Saini J continued to hear the trial in Packham CBE v Wightman and ors.

On 10 May 2023, the Court of Appeal (Peter Jackson, Males and Arnold LJJ) heard an appeal in the case of Stoute v News Group Newspapers Ltd. The claimants obtained an urgent interim injunction preventing the Sun Newspaper from publishing two photographs, however Heather Williams J refused to restrain the publication of two additional photographs, that showed the claimants in a public place. Johnson J reached the same decision as Heather Williams J ([2023] EWHC 232 (KB) [pdf]).  The Court of Appeal gave permission to appeal on 17 March 2023.  A summary of the case can be found on 5RB’s website.  A video of the hearing can be found here.

As mentioned above, Fancourt J began hearing the trial of four claims in the case of Various Claimants v MGN on the same day.

Media law in other jurisdictions


On 9 May 2023, Forbes J dismissed an application for a broad suppression order to delay the airing of a TV segment on Channel Nine about allegations concerning the Pentecostal church with which the claimant is associated in the case of DPP v Tuteru [2023] VSC 241. The applicant submitted that suppression of the sensational and inflammatory segment was necessary to ensure he receives a fair trial in criminal proceedings against him for a charge under the Heavy Vehicle National Law. However, the court found that the length of time between publication and any trial commencing made it unnecessary to suppress publication as the passage of time would diminish the prejudicial effect of the material [16, 21].

On the same day, O’Callaghan J ordered that the proceeding be listed for a case management hearing on a date to be fixed in the case of Selkirk v Hocking [2023] FCA 432.


On 9 May 2023, the plaintiff’s motion for a Norwich order was dismissed by Morgan J in the case of Jacobs v. McGee, 2023 ONSC 2765.


Kerala has become the first state in India to distribute drone surveillance systems to all of its policing districts. Chief Minister Vijayan said that AI will soon be adopted for policing in order to bolster crime detection and modernise the police force. The Hindu and NDTV covered the new policy.


Internet services were suspended across Pakistan after the arrest of former prime minister, Imran Khan sparked violence and protests. According to the Pakistan telecommunication authority, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were restricted as videos of the protests were being widely shared. Despite a court order requiring Khan’s release, mobile Internet services remained suspended across the country. Al Jazeera, BBC News, and The Guardian covered the Internet blackouts. Amnesty International called on the Pakistani authorities to lift the restrictions immediately, which it says are “a clear violation of people’s right to access information and free expression.”


The organisers of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which takes place every year in Barcelona, have been fined €200,000 by Spain’s data protection watchdog for breaching data privacy rules. The MWC infringed Article 35 of the GDPR when it collected the biometric data, including facial recognition, of show attendees. The GDPR requires a data protection impact assessment to be proactively carried out where the processing of an individual’s data raises a high risk to their rights and freedoms. TechCrunch analysed the decision which is available to read here [pdf] in Spanish.

Research and Resources

Next week in the courts

On 15 May 2023, Nicklin J will continue to hear the trial in the case of MBR Acres Ltd v Free MBR Beagles.

On the same day, there will be a case management hearing in the case of Kirk v Associated Newspapers QB-2020-004118.

Statements in open court will be read on 16 May 2023 in the cases of Campbell v MGN Limited QB-2020-003829 and Dinah Rose KC v (1) Jonathan Ames (2) Times Media Ltd KB 2023-000485.

On the same day, there will be a pre-trial review hearing in the case of Leeds and another v Burgess and others QB-2021-000067.

On 17 May 2023, there will be an application in the case of Food Hub Limited v Persons Unknown KB-2022-003116.

A statement in open court will be read on 18 May 2023 in the case of Seeley v News Group Newspapers Limited QB-2022-002151 and on the same day there will be a trial of preliminary issues in the case of Carr v Carr KB-2022-003145.

On 18 May 2022, there will be hearings on applications for injunctions in the cases of Payone v Logo KB-2023-002118 and Searl v Dimova-Handley KB 2023-002005.

Reserved judgments

Stoute v News Group Newspapers, heard 10 May 2023 (Peter Jackson, Males and Arnold LJJ)

Grant v NGN and Duke of Sussex NGN heard on 25-27 April 2023 (Fancourt J)

Mehmood v Up and Coming TV Limited, heard 26-28 April 2023 (Heather Williams J)

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)

Crosbie v Ley, heard 21 and 22 March 2023 (Julian Knowles J)

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

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

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

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