Posted by in Tort Law | 0 Comments

Privacy

Privacy

What is it?
Gossip is now news, and a person’s private life can make newspaper headlines.  However, people argue that a balance between a person’s privacy and someone’s freedom of expression need to be balanced.  The court mainly decide, is this piece of news crucial to the public.  Does the news affect their job, for example, if the public knew a certain member of Parliament had an affair on their wife, would they change their mind on which party to vote for.

Brief History
There is not currently a statute law in the UK on privacy.  The Calcutt Report of 1990 indicated that there might be a need for one, but it wasn’t until the case of [Kaye v Robertson]Kaye was a famous actor from the television show 'Allo! Allo!' whom had surgery. A journalist snuck into his hospital room and took photographs and allegedly had an interview with him. When they tried to publish the photographs of the actor bandaged up and confined to his bed, he tried to seek an injunction and was originally successful, but the Court of Appeal reversed this decision. that the first real case relating to privacy arose.  Because there is no statutory law, Kaye had to rely on indirect other torts such as libel and trespass to the person.

Since the Human Rights Act 1998, and the introduction of Article 8A person's right to a private life., courts now look at a breach of confidence [Douglas v Hello!]

Breach of Confidence A breach of confidence take place when:- (a) The information has the necessary quality of confidence.  I.e. it is the sort of thing that somebody would consider ‘private’. (b) The information was given in circumstances of confidence. (c) There is an unauthorised use of the information to the claimants risk of harm.

The balance of Article 8 with Article 10 The Human Rights Act 1998 have two articles, A person's right to a private life.Article 8Michael Douglas married Catherine Zeta-Jones and sold the rights to OK! Magazine for exclusive photographs of the wedding. A photographer snuck into the wedding, took photographs of the couple and sold them to Hello! Magazine. Although it took many trials, over several years, all with different outcomes, it was eventually held that they were in breach of confidence by publishing these photographs. and Article 10A person's right to freedom of expression., which are difficult to balance.  There has been some comment on this by the European Courts [Von Hannover v Germany]A Princess of Monaco had attempted to stop photographs of her in public being printed by German magazines. It was decided that there was a breach of Article 8 and that even highly public figures do, in some cases, deserve a right to privacy.

Key Privacy Cases
Sometimes a court will issue an injunction where there is a fear for safety of someone involved [CC v AB]A Premier League footballer had an affair. It was proven that the wife had a severe case of depression, and that the news of the affair being published may have driven her to become suicidal. As a result the court issued an injunction.

A diary has been held to be too private to be published.  [HRH The Prince of Wales v Associated Newspapers]The Prince of Wales had his diary looked at and excerpts were planned to be published. It was held that a diary was one of the most personal and private things and that such details should not be divulged to the public.

Facts that are in the interests of the public can be published.  [Lord Browne v Associated Newspapers]Lord Brown, CEO of BP, discussed with his boyfriend in the bedroom. They argued that conversations had within the bedroom are of a highly private nature and cannot be published. The courts disagreed and stated that the subject matter was in the interests of the public.

In 2011, there was a massive increase in super injunctions, both issued by the courts and discussed by the media.  This led to several high profile cases such as Andrew Marr revealing that he had a super injunction, because he felt it was hypocritical as a journalist to have an injunction, yet inquire about others.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply