This week in media and law was dominated by two stories. First, there was the story concerning Culture Secretary John Whittingdale’s relationship with a dominatrix. This was a story which several newspapers decided not to publish, apparently because of their respect for Mr Whittingdale’s privacy.
Then there was the “celebrity threesome” story, which all newspapers appear to be desperate to publish, despite the fact that Court of Appeal had decided that the privacy of the individual should be respected. Most newspapers failed to notice any contradiction between the two positions.
Despite the fact that the press declared that the Whittingdale story was a non-story, by the end of the week however, most of them had decided that his private life was not so important after all. The Mail on Sunday, predictably, led the charge with a story that he had shown Cabinet papers to a a former lover.
The campaigning group Hacked Off – which did not break the Whittingdale story – denied press accusations of hypocrisy whilst insisting that the Secretary of State had questions to answer over the radical change in the Government’s position on press regulation and the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry.
Meanwhile, the case of PJS v News Group Newspapers returned to the Court of Appeal on Friday 15 April 2016. Jackson, King and Simon LJJ heard an application by the defendant to discharge the injunction on the grounds that the information covered by it was now widely available in the jurisdiction. The Court of Appeal is due to deliver judgment on Monday 18 April 2016.
Last Week in the Courts
On Monday 11 April 2016, Nicol J handed down judgment in the case of Axon v Ministry of Defence ( EWHC 787 (QB)). The claim was dismissed. We will be posting a case comment shortly.
On Tuesday 12 April 2016, Jay J gave an ex tempore judgment in the breach of confidence case of A1, B2 & C3 v A Government Department. The trial is due to start on 3 May 2016 and is listed for 3 days.
On 12 to 14 April 2016, Warby J heard the libel trial in the case of Umeyor v Ibe. Judgment was reserved.
On Friday 15 April 2016 there was a hearing before Mann J in Various Claimants v News Group Newspapers – the News Group phone hacking litigation in which the claimants are seeking to bring claims against the Sun.
As already mentioned, on Friday 15 April 2016, the Court of Appeal (Jackson, King and Simon LJJ) heard an application by the defendant in the case of PJS v News Group Newspapers.
Next Week in the Courts.
On Monday 18 April 2016, the Court of Appeal (Jackson, King and Simon LJJ) will give judgment in the case of PJS v News Group Newspapers.
On the same day Warby J will begin hearing the trial in the libel case of Undre & anr v The London Borough of Harrow which is listed for 2 days.
On Friday 22 April 2016, the Court of Appeal will hear an application for permission to appeal in the case of Sloutsker v Romanova.
The following reserved judgments in media law cases are outstanding:
CG v Facebook Ireland Limited, heard 4 and 5 April 2016 (Morgan LCJ, Gillen and Weatherup LJJ)(Northern Ireland Court of Appeal)
Various Claimants v MGN, heard 8 April 2016 (Mann J)
Umeyor v Ibe, heard 12 to 14 April 2016 (Warby J).
This week and next week we will be publishing shortened versions of our usual Round Up.