Contact Law blog

Privacy law

Rough Justice: Internet vigilantes and the right to privacy

In 2011 a Dublin taxi driver, aggrieved after a passenger ran off without paying, posted a YouTube video of the event. He asked users to identify the young man in the grainy footage, whom another passenger could be heard calling “Eoin”.

An anonymous individual identified the culprit as Eoin McKeogh, a young student at Dublin City University.

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When does a private matter become ‘in the public interest’?

Given the recent publication of photos containing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing at a private property in Provence by the French magazine Closer, we thought we’d look at when invading privacy is justified.

When does intruding into a person’s private life become ‘in the public interest’? Is the fact that Kate Middleton is now a member of the royal family enough to warrant publishing photos of her sunbathing topless whilst on holiday in France?

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Leveson inquiry considers alternative regulations for social media

Lord Justice Leveson has indicated that different forms of regulation might be needed for online social media sites and online newspapers. Leveson is the Chairman of the Leveson Inquiry, which is charged with investigating current media practices and culture.

Leveson highlighted that there is a difference between general gossip conversations and news-related storied. (more…)

Lord Patten argues against statutory regulation of press

The News of the World phone hacking scandal continues to dominate headlines. The outrage that followed it saw several calls for further regulation of the press. However, the Chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, has stressed that in protecting privacy, caution is needed to maintain freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Lord Patten has said that he does not believe that a legislative framework would be an appropriate form of regulation of the press. He considers that such a legislative structure risks having adverse effects on free speech and the effective operation of newspapers. (more…)

Jeremy Clarkson lifts super-injunction

Last year, the Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson took out a super-injunction that prevented his ex-wife from disclosing information concerning his private life. However, Clarkson yesterday decided to have it lifted through an application to the High Court.

A super-injunction is not the same as a plain injunction in that its existence is not to be reported. This differs from a plain injunction, the existence of which can be disclosed, but, its subjects cannot, normally, be revealed. (more…)

MP uses parliamentary privilege to expose super injunction

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming has used the constitutional principle of parliamentary privilege to expose a super injunction granted by the court to Sir Fred Goodwin, the controversial former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Sir Goodwin obtained the super injunction to prevent certain information about him being published in the press. However, the Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley has undone the court’s work by saying in Parliament: (more…)

Privacy law Image

Privacy law applies to everyone but we only really hear about it when a celebrity or other public figure invokes their right to have personal information kept out of the media spotlight.

The right to a private and family life is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). However, it often conflicts with another right contained in the ECHR, the right to freedom of expression. The media often invoke this right in order to print or report a story about somebody famous.

In this part of the blog we will keep you updated with any changes to privacy law, and the most interesting case studies as they happen.

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