Yellow abstract of floor level.

Parliamentary committee reports on privacy

09 April 2012. Published by Keith Mathieson, Partner

The Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions has reported.

Click here for a link to the full report.

The most important recommendations of the committee, which was set up last year and has taken evidence from a wide variety of sources, are (a) that there should be no new privacy statute and (b) there should be a new regulatory regime for the press, but not one backed by statutory powers.

In relation to (a), the committee says the balance between articles 8 and 10 is best achieved by the courts on a case-by-case basis.  In relation to (b), it recommends a system that is independent of both the media industry and government.

Other points from the report:

    • privacy injunctions should not be too freely available: departures from the principle of open justice should be exceptional.
    • injunctions obtained in any UK legal jurisdiction should be enforceable in the other two.
    • courts should direct claimants to serve notice of injunctions on social networking platforms and companies such as Google should take "practical steps" to limit the potential for breaches of court orders to arise through use of their services.
    • there should be no statutory requirement for pre-notification, but it should be a regulatory requirement save where there are compelling reasons not to pre-notify.  An inexcusable failure to pre-notify should entitle a privacy claimant to extra damages.
    • legal costs in privacy cases should be better controlled by the courts
    • Parliamentarians should not reveal information covered by injunctions "unless there is good reason to do so".

A fuller summary of the report appears on the Inforrm blog here.