Sunday, 28 September 2014

Phone hacking: Trinity Mirror to pay out over 10 claims

Phone hacking: Trinity Mirror to pay out over 10 claims | Media | The Guardian:

"Harris also cited evidence in the recent phone-hacking trial that saw former News of the World editor Andy Coulson found guilty. During the trial Dan Evans, a former reporter at the Murdoch tabloid, gave evidence. Evans was given a suspended sentence in recognition of his co-operation with police and prosecutors, having admitted hacking phones while he worked at the News of the World and his previous employer, the Sunday Mirror.

 Evans had admitted in court in January that he started hacking phones after he was made a staff reporter at the Sunday Mirror and carried out this activity at that title for about “a year and a half”.

Evans described the phone-hacking target list at the Sunday Mirror as containing “lists of celebrities’ voicemail pin numbers” and “celebrity agents’ [voicemail numbers] where you would pick up voicemails left by them”.

He admitted hacking the voicemails of 200 people and listening to about 1,000 voicemails in total.

In a statement, Trinity Mirror “admitted liability to four individuals who had sued MGN for alleged interception of their voicemails many years ago”, before adding: “MGN has apologised to those individuals and agreed to pay compensation. The amount of that compensation will be assessed by the court if it cannot be agreed.”" 'via Blog this'

Trinity Mirror hacking: why its legal director should consider his position

Trinity Mirror hacking: why its legal director should consider his position | Media | "Bailey left Trinity Mirror in June 2012 to be replaced the following September by Simon Fox.

Within a month, he was faced by the filing of four hacking claims by lawyer Mark Lewis.

History had finally caught up with Trinity Mirror and Fox, the new boy, obviously had to rely on the "review" already carried out by Vickers.

Initially, the company denied the legal claims and battled to deny the quartet the right to pursue their claims.

Its problems, and Fox's headache, worsened in March 2013 with the arrest of four of the group's senior journalists, current and past, for alleged phone hacking.

The following month, Fox told the Financial Times the company had not set aside any money to meet potential claims. He was reassured by the "considerable work" undertaken by his board members before he arrived.

By that, he meant the review and the 44 legal declarations by senior staff that they had not engaged in phone hacking.

 Trinity Mirror refused to make life easy for the claimants. In November 2013, it asked the court to throw out two cases and to quash evidence advanced by two more. The judge dismissed the publisher's application.

 Although Fox expected the "cloud hanging over us" to lift, the cloud has got blacker by the month. By July this year, the company revealed it had made a £4m provision to deal with 17 civil hacking claims.

This week we learned it was dealing with many more and, as of today, the high court was told the group is now facing up to 50 claims." 'via Blog this'

Mirror group phone-hacking costs could soar to £12m, court told

Mirror group phone-hacking costs could soar to £12m, court told | UK news | The Guardian: "The judge was told that an “unnamed QC” acting for the claimants wanted £335,250, while two other junior barristers sought £203,750 and £148,000. MGN proposed awarding the QC £215,250 and claimed the proposed use of four barristers was “plainly disproportionate”.

Mr Justice Mann appeared to agree, asking, “Is any of this litigation proportionate? At one level, all these costs are disproportionate for the claims being brought.”

The judge went on to suggest that any victim of phone hacking could expect less than £100,000 in damages – a fraction of the cost of a trial. He said potential damages were “probably less than six figures”. The judge added the only justification for the expense would be “the quasi-public interest” in pursuing the litigation." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, 21 September 2014

President of Supreme Court: Internet challenges privacy laws

On 26 August 2014, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury PSC delivered a speech entitled The Third and Fourth Estates: Judges, Journalists and Open Justice at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club"These developments may make it inevitable that the law on privacy, indeed, the law relating to communications generally, may have to be reconsidered. It undermines the rule of law if laws are unenforceable. There is no doubt that these technological developments give rise to enormous challenges for people involved in the law and people involved in the media." Is he arguing for better enforcement or more privacy?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

No, The Sun, “Euro judges” do not “go against UK in 3 out of 5 cases”. More like 1 in 100

No, The Sun, “Euro judges” do not “go against UK in 3 out of 5 cases”. More like 1 in 100. | UK Human Rights Blog: "I will conclude with a quote from Lord Neuberger’s recent speech on open justice . The President certainly seems to get it when it comes to legal misreporting (hat tip to Shoaib M Khan):

" But just as judges must not abuse their privileges which are accorded to them because of the importance of judicial independence, so should journalists and other communicators not abuse the privileges accorded to them because of the importance of freedom of expression. So, inaccurate and unfair reporting of a judge’s decision in order to make a good story is an abuse of the freedom of expression accorded to the press and it undermines the rule of law." 'via Blog this'

The Sun’s aggressive, then submissive, response to my complaint on its human rights reporting | UK Human Rights Blog

The Sun’s aggressive, then submissive, response to my complaint on its human rights reporting | UK Human Rights Blog: "But what I found most interesting about the process, which was started by the Press Complaints Commission and concluded by its post-Leveson successor, the Indepenndent Press Standards Orgaisation (IPSO), was the initial response to my complaint (PDF here) by The Sun’s Ombudsman, Philippa Kennedy OBE, which I thought was needlessly aggressive and demonstrates a worrying approach to this issue." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 15 September 2014

Europe, EEA, EU, EFTA, Council of Europe - countries - Venn diagram

Kuan0 - Europe, EEA, EU, EFTA, Council of Europe - countries - Venn diagram: "The Venn diagram and associated table of countries below are intended to help navigate the alphabet soup relating to Europe and groupings of European countries, ie the intergovernmental organisations (or international governmental organisations, IGOs) that are the EU, EEA, EFTA, Council of Europe" 'via Blog this'

The “New” New York Times: Free Speech Lawyering in the Age of Google and Twitter

The “New” New York Times: Free Speech Lawyering in the Age of Google and Twitter - The “New” New York Times: Free Speech Lawyering in the Age of Google and Twitter: "While they have been criticized for some of their decisions, the lawyers at companies like Google and Twitter are reminiscent of newspaper lawyers of old in their conscious thinking about and focus on freedom of expression. Their companies are not perfect, just as the New York Times is not perfect. Fifty years from now, though, we will remember these lawyers and their impact on how millions of people experience freedom of expression. And their paradigmatic decisions already have played significant roles in some of the most important freedom of expression episodes in modern times, including the leaking of classified documents to WikiLeaks and The Guardian, the sharing of anti-Islamic videos on YouTube, and the legislative debate over telecommunications and copyright rules such as “network neutrality” and “SOPA.”" 'via Blog this'

Friday, 12 September 2014


PCC RULING AGAINST DAILY MAIL – MY VERDICT | EU ROPE: "The Daily Mail’s so-called ‘corrections’ on this issue have been small and obscurely tucked away; they make no reference to my complaint; do not explain the context of the corrections and the reasons for them; do not state that the paper broke the Editors’ Code, and do not even have to refer to the PCC ruling. If this is the only consequence for sloppy, incorrect, alarmist and often xenophobic journalism, nothing is ever going to change, is it?
Until we have a proper, effective, independent press regulator in the UK – as required by The Leveson Inquiry – we will not be able to bring newspapers to account. My efforts to challenge just one Daily Mail story took most of this year; it should not have taken so long for the PCC to reach their (inadequate) verdict." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 11 September 2014

What is media law? EU regulation of free to play games: hot topic or hot air?

EU regulation of free to play games: hot topic or hot air? | Gamer/Law: "The European Commission has just published a press release and report on the investigation into free to play games which it is coordinating within the European Union.  This follows my report back in February 2014 that the European Commission (one of the three legislative bodies in the EU and the prime policy maker) had decided to step into the increasingly thorny field of regulation of free to play games and in-app purchases in the online and mobile worlds.  Now the Commission has, seemingly out of the blue, issued a press release explaining what it has been up to all this time.

In this post I explain what’s going on and what’s REALLY important about the new guidance being issued to Apple and Google. " 'via Blog this'

Media Plurality in the UK: Where Do We Go From Here?

Media Plurality in the UK: Where Do We Go From Here? | LSE Media Policy Project: "What happens after the Ofcom analysis?

Probably a lot of occasionally interesting discussion; just possibly a new media plurality regime; most likely, nothing. The key questions, whatever your analysis, are what you then do and who makes the decisions. To take the easier question of who decides, the Government predictably gives a firm “non” to the suggestion that European Union tanks might be parked on our media lawn.  This is understandable, given Government’s natural desire to be able to wield influence over the media, but may be short-sighted if media markets continue to become more multi-national. It is also rather uncollegiate in limiting EU interventions in other Member States where media owners’ behaviour might be more detrimental to democracy and governments less effective at maintaining the media freedoms they were required to demonstrate at accession to the EU. The Government response seems to side-step the question of whether the final arbiter should be the independent regulator or a Government Minister. The Lords Committee seeks rather complexly to balance the desirability of independent arbitration with an element of democratic accountability. However, ultimately, it seems to me that politicians are elected to take such decisions and the objective should be that we have open and independent advice from a body such as Ofcom and a transparent, reasoned decision from Government." 'via Blog this'

Changes Are Coming to Scottish Broadcasting

Philip Schlesinger: ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’ Changes Are Coming to Scottish Broadcasting | LSE Media Policy Project: "Scottish Government’s White Paper (the blueprint for independence negotiations) has pointed to possible co-regulation with Ofcom, another version of the joint venture idea mooted for the BBC.

If it is a no on 18 September, would these ideas simply disappear? That is hardly likely. The BBC is gearing up for the next Charter Review in 2016, a good time for lobbying for the Scottish interest. The SNP’s nascent Plan B would doubtless raise questions about the corporation’s formal accountability to the Scottish Parliament as well as the adequacy of Scottish representation on the BBC Trust and Ofcom’s board, much in tune with the call for more devolved broadcasting governance made earlier this year by the Silk Commission in Wales." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Cooke: First judgment under the new Defamation Act analysis

Farrer - First judgment under the new Defamation Act: "This highly anticipated judgment, the first to be decided under the Defamation Act 2013, looked specifically at the new "serious harm" test under s1(1). In finding against the claimants, the court made it clear that the threshold for a statement to be defamatory had been raised.
The court attached significant weight to early apologies and suggested that evidence will almost always be required to pass the serious harm test. However, on the meaning of "serious harm" itself, discussion was somewhat limited. The judge said that this was an ordinary term in common usage, providing little clarity on how it differs from the previous common law approach. " 'via Blog this'

Cooke & Anor v MGN Ltd & Anor [2014] EWHC 2831 (QB) (13 August 2014)

Cooke & Anor v MGN Ltd & Anor [2014] EWHC 2831 (QB) (13 August 2014):

"34. The 2013 Act was the product of extensive parliamentary scrutiny. A draft Bill was produced in March 2011 for public consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee of both Houses. The Joint Committee reported on the draft Bill on 19th October 2011. The Defamation Bill itself was then presented to the House of Commons on 20th May 2012 and after detailed consideration in both Houses received Royal Assent on 25th April 2013.

35. Both Mr Tomlinson and Mr Price have sought to refer to Hansard to cite remarks made in the course of the Bill's passage through Parliament, relying on Pepper v Hart [1993] AC 593. I consider that it is proper to refer to the Ministerial foreword to the draft Bill, to the Joint Committee's report on the draft Bill, and to the Explanatory Notes to the Act, to identify the mischief at which it was aimed. I also consider that the parliamentary history, and in particular any respect in which the Act differs from the original draft Bill, may be highly illuminating. It is also proper to refer to statements made by the promoters of the Bill (that is to say the sponsoring minister in each House or the proposer of any successful amendment) in order to resolve a genuine ambiguity in the Act." 'via Blog this'

Cooke & Anor v MGN Ltd & Anor [2014] EWHC 2831 (QB) (13 August 2014)

Cooke & Anor v MGN Ltd & Anor [2014] EWHC 2831 (QB) (13 August 2014): Mr Bean rules on the Defamation Act - the first case heard in QBD:

"28. The Act only applies to defamation claims where the cause of action has arisen since the beginning of 2014. Mr Tomlinson and Mr Price tell me this is the first case in which the interpretation of the Act has come before the courts.

29. There was originally a suggestion in correspondence that Midland Heart are a "body that trades for profit" and that therefore by virtue of s 1(2) they could only succeed if they showed that the publication has caused or was likely to cause serious financial loss. However, by the time the issues to be tried by me were formulated the parties were agreed that s 1(2) does not apply in the present case, although its terms are arguably of some assistance in construing s 1(1).

30. It is common ground that s 1(1) requires a claimant to show that serious harm has been caused or is likely to be caused to his reputation. It is not enough to show that the publication has caused or is likely to cause serious distress or injury to feelings." 'via Blog this'