Take 10 #7

Published on 04 December 2020

Welcome to RPC's media and communications law update. This issue reports on key media developments and the latest cases.

News items

Facebook News Tab

Facebook has announced the launch of 'News tab' in the UK which will pay mainstream UK news publishers directly in order to make curated content available directly to Facebook users. Read more

Depp appeal refused

As widely predicted by legal commentators, Mr Justice Nicol has refused Johnny Depp permission to appeal his November judgment in which the judge dismissed the actor's libel claim against NGN and editor Dan Wootton over a 2018 article that labelled the actor a 'wife beater'. Read more 

Gerrard & Anor v (1) ENRC Ltd (2) Diligence International LLC

Judgment has been given in another piece of litigation relating to the controversial mining company European Natural Resources Corporation and its former solicitor Neil Gerrard.  The Claimants brought claims for breaches of data protection law, misuse of private information, harassment and trespass arising from the use of surveillance activities. Read more

Carole Cadwalladr withdraws the defence of truth

In the latest round of hard-fought defamation proceedings, The Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr has withdrawn her truth defence shortly before an application was due to be heard to strike it out by businessman Arron Banks. Read more 

Herron v HarperCollins Publishers Australia Pty Ltd (No 3) [2020] FCA 1687

HarperCollins and journalist Steve Cannane have successfully defended a libel claim in Australia in which the Claimants sued over allegations relating to events that allegedly occurred as long ago 50 years ago. Read more 


New advice on handling FOI requests

A clearing house within the Cabinet Office has been advising Government departments on freedom of information requests. Read more 

New bill restricting images of police officers passed in France

A new bill has passed into law in France forbidding the publication of images of any police officer and which might harm an officer's 'physical or mental integrity'. Read more

Group created by Government to protect young people from misinformation

MPs are aiming to reform online safety teaching in schools by teaching children how to spot misinformation online. Read more

Journalists to receive £875,000 from the police

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has agreed to pay £875,000 in damages, in addition to significant legal costs, to journalists Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney, after they were arrested and their premises searched over the alleged theft of police files that appeared in their documentary No Stone Unturned about the Loughinisland killings in 1994. Read more

Intelligence firm ordered to pay £350,000 in costs after withdrawing £15m libel lawsuit

The private intelligence firm Black Cube has had to pay costs after withdrawing a libel claim brought in England, after a leading Israeli investigative and current affairs programme Uvda aired a segment that alleged one of Israel's richest men had hired the firm in 2014 to investigate the finance minister at the time. Read more


Quote of the fortnight:

"If the lay client takes the opportunity to harass and cause harm to the opposing party through the medium of correspondence which he causes to be sent, there is, as I see it, no reason in principle why the victim should be denied relief merely because of the interpolation of solicitors in the chain of events. In that situation, however, the solicitors themselves will have done nothing wrong."

Richard Spearman QC giving judgment in Gerrard (see above) that legal correspondence can be used to harass.