The Inforrm Blog today returns to regular publication after our winter break. Although the legal vacation continues until Friday 11 January 2013, there is no shortage of media and legal news. We have already had a weekly round up earlier this week and a number of “winter break posts” – in particular we had Judith Townend’s review of Media and Law in 2012 (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3).
We have also had Benjamin Pell’s “Inforrm 2012 Media Law Quiz of the Year” (the last day for entries is 14 January).
There are many developments in relation to the media and law to look forward to in 2013. We will highlight just a few:
- Steps will be taken to implement the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry Report. Hacked Off and the Labour Party have produced draft bills to implement the recommendations in relation to self-regulation of the press, the Conservative members of the Coalition Government favour a recognition body incorporated by Royal Charter. Hacked Off is due to issue a consultation on the various draft bills shortly. Everyone appears to agree that it will be necessary to have statutory provision to deal with the “costs” and “exemplary damages” incentives proposed by Lord Justice Leveson the only question is whether there will also be a “statutory recogniser”.
- The first phone hacking related criminal trial - that of DCI April Casburn – has begun. The trial of seven former News of the World employees – including Rebekah Wade and Andy Coulson – is due to take place in September 2013. They face one general accusation of conspiracy to access voicemails and a number of specific charges. There are also like to be trials of allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and allegations concerning the making of improper payments to public officials. The criminal courts are likely to be busy dealing with these cases into 2014.
- Meanwhile the civil claims against the “News of the World” continue – although a number of cases have settled there are still several which to be considered at the Tranche 2 trial which is due to commence before Vos J on 10 June 2013.
- The Defamation Bill – is likely to become law in 2013 (perhaps with some “Leveson incentives” added to it). It will next be considered by Parliament in the House of Lords Committee Stage on 15 January 2013. The Bill must complete all its stages and receive Royal Assent by the end of this Parliamentary Session, Easter 2013.
- We already know that there will be some important libel judgments from the courts – reserved from 2012. We will mention two – Tamiz v Google, heard 3 and 4 December 2012 (Master of the Rolls, Richards and Sullivan LJJ) – concerning the liability of internet publishers and Rothschild v Associated Newspapers heard 12 and 13 December 2012 (Laws, McCombe LJJ and Eady J) – an appeal after the trial of a libel action in January 2012.