The guidance comes following the case of Bridges in which the Court of Appeal criticised the South Wales Police Forces use of live facial recognition software. TPP has covered the Bridges appeal in depth.
In a case builds upon pre-existing caselaw on the rights of those who are deceased the European Court of Human Rights has found an article 8 breach in relation to news articles posted about a deceased Roman Catholic Priest.
ML v Slovakia 34159/17 concerned a number of articles published by three Slovakian newspapers about the historic sex offence convictions of the claimants son.
The Court found that the articles were inaccurate and sensationalist citing that: “However, it follows from what has been said above that the domestic courts failed to carry out a balancing exercise between the applicant’s right to private life and the newspaper publishers’ freedom of expression in conformity with the criteria laid down in the Court’s case-law.”
Concluding the Courts stated, applying Article 8:
“…dealing appropriately with the dead out of respect for the feelings of the deceased’s relatives falls within the scope of Article 8 of the Convention”.
Furthermore the Court stated a clear and concise view on the journalistic integrity of the reporting: “Although the journalists must be afforded some degree of exaggeration or even provocation, the Court considers that the frivolous and unverified statements about the applicants sons private life must be taken to have gone beyond the limits of responsible journalism” -p.47
“Privacy lies at the heart of liberty in a modern state. A proper degree of liberty is essential for the well-being and development of an individual”– Lord Nicholls, Campbell v MGN  2 AC 457 at [p.12]
This is part of our new “quotes from caselaw” series, looking to bring you short snippets from leading judgments on privacy, which highlight its importance and development.
The England and Wales privacy of Murray v. Associated Newspapers  EWHC 1908 (Ch) set out a number of criteria applicable to establishing whether there was a reasonable expectation of privacy in the matter at issue. This is one of the two part test for an action of misuse of private information to be made out.
The recent Markle case for misuse of private information applied the Murray criteria in by rote. The circumstances in which a publicised letter to the claimant’s father breached a reasonable expectation of privacy were broken down in a illustrative way, highlighting the effectiveness of the Murray criteria:
Factor One: Role and Status
(1) The claimant was a prominent member of the Royal Family,
and in that sense a public figure, who had a high public profile, and about whom much
had been and continued to be written and published; this is an important feature of the
background and the circumstances but
Factor Two: Was the nature of the activity she was engaged with private?
(2) the nature of the “activity” in which she had
engaged was not an aspect of her public role or functions; she was communicating to
her father about his behaviour, its impact on her, her feelings about it, and her wishes
for the future; and
(3) she was doing this in a letter sent to him alone, privately, by
means of a courier service.
Factor Three: What was the intrusion complained of?
(4) The “intrusion” involved the publication of much if not
most of the information in the Letter by way of sensational revelations over four pages
of a popular newspaper and online, to a very large readership; and that, in broad terms,
was the purpose of the “intrusion”.
Factor Four: Was there any consent to the intrusion?
(5) There was no consent, and it is beyond dispute
that this was known to or could have been inferred by Mr Markle and the defendant.
Factor Five: What was the impact of the disclosure?
(6) The unwanted disclosure was likely to cause the claimant at least some distress,
especially as it was done with the co-operation of her father, and in the context of a
detailed and critical response by him to the content of the Letter.
Factor Six: How was the information obtained?
(7) The information
was given to the defendant by the claimant’s father.
Revisiting the case of Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom
The operation of the UK’s surveillance services, MI5, MI6, GCHQ and the Metropolitan Police Service and their interaction with human rights (“Convention rights”) have historically been obscure to safeguard the interests of national security. The specifics of policy and practices when conducting national surveillance and its interaction with the private lives citizens have only come to light since the whistleblowing of Edward Snowden in 2013, catalyzing closer scrutiny of their potential to impinge upon the democratic freedoms.
Below we present a compiled summary of our highly popular introduction to the concept of privacy under English Law, this covers early developments, the integration of private individuals rights, the widening of the concept and early 21st Century data protection issues: Continue reading
An excellent and highly insightful piece written by Hugh Tomlinson QC on the application of the Article 8 right to privacy and a reconciliation with domestic law.
The Article 8 right to respect for private life has many facets and has often seemed in danger of uncontrolled expansion. The Court of Human Rights has often noted that private life is “not susceptible to exhaustive definition”, embracing “multiple aspects of the person’s physical and social identity”.
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