Take 10 #1

Published on 30 June 2020

Welcome to RPC's fortnightly digest for media lawyers. This month's digest reports on key media developments and the latest cases.

Access the full Take 10 and subscribe here.

News items

In an important decision for open justice in the Family Division, Mr Justice Hayden named a local authority, the identity of which had previously been anonymised. 

Following an application from the local authority, which was heard remotely and to which the press had (inadvertently) not been notified, the judge refused to name Haringey Council after deciding that the vulnerability of one of the children involved “tipped the balance in favour of prioritising the children’s family life and emotional well-being over the legitimate public interest in identifying the local authority”. Read more

Depp v NGN relating to the admissibility of evidence of two of the claimant's intended witnesses ahead of the trial 

Nicol J refused to allow the claimant to call one of his intended witnesses on account of the "doubtful" relevance of the evidence but gave permission to rely on the evidence of another, save that the Judge exercised his discretion to restrict the claimant from adducing certain parts of that witnesses' evidence. Read more

Brewdog v Frank PR dealt with a determination of meaning and an application for strike out of the claim.

The claim concerned a press release promoting the launch of the Scofflaw Brewery in the UK (in Brewdog bars) which stated that free beers would be offered, "but there is a hook … you have to be a Trump supporter". Read more

In Fortescue v Argus, the judge dismissed the claimant's application for a continuation of an interim breach of confidence injunction. 

The claimants had obtained an interim injunction against the defendants to restrain publication of the monthly discount used by the claimants as part of a formula for pricing sales of iron ore. Read more

In Notting Hill Genesis v Ali, the claimant sought retrospective permission to rely on documents disclosed in employment tribunal proceedings and an interim injunction against the defendant to restrain the use of the claimant's documents.

The general rule is that disclosed documents may only be used in the course of the same litigation unless one of the exceptions in CPR31.22(1) applies. Read more

In CWD v Nevitt, Steyn J granted the defendants' application for a lifting of their own anonymity in proceedings against them for defamation, misuse of private information and harassment

The anonymity order was originally granted as the underlying allegations related to sexual offences and the lifelong anonymity that follows. Read more

Developments

The Society of Editors has written to the government to express concerns about the way in which to the government has engaged with sections of the media.

In a statement released by Number 10 Downing Street criticising the reporting of Dominic Cummings' lockdown movements, the government stated it would "not waste [it's] time answering a stream of false allegations about Mr Cummings from campaigning newspapers”. Read more

The Civil Justice Council commissioned an independent review into remote hearings during the COVID-19 to gather feedback on the impact of coronavirus measures on the civil justice system.

Among a variety of questions, the review asked court users to share what has been working well and whether issues with current arrangements had been experienced. Read more

Twitter has tagged a tweet by Donald Trump with a fact-checking warning for the first time.

The US President tweeted: "There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent". Trump also threatened to 'strongly regulate' or 'shut down' social media platforms and stated that he felt Twitter was 'completely stifling free speech'. Read more

Apple is being urged to do more to help news publishers combat 'screenshot' piracy of paid-for content.

Issues surrounding the flouting of copyright by readers were highlighted last month when Guardian columnist Owen Jones published extracts of the Sunday Times investigation into the UK government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis on his Twitter account. Read more

Kensington Palace has reportedly sent a legal complaint to Tatler magazine in relation to its 'Catherine the Great' profile piece on the Duchess of Cambridge.

It is alleged that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are unhappy about unfounded criticism of the Duchess’s family, her children and her weight. Read more

Quote of the fortnight: 

"The media has an article 10 right to impart information, the public has an article 10 right to receive information, If that right to free speech does not allow the media to tell the public that this council, a public authority, twice subjected to very high levels of criticism over its handling of the welfare of children, has again been criticised and… in trenchant terms by a  judge based in the Family Division of the High Court, then what is that right to free speech for?" – Brian Farmer, Press Association as reported in PA Media Group v London Borough of Haringey