The case of footballer Raheem Stirling provides an avenue into the oft-overlooked issue of hate speech prevention and deterrence. The adequacy of English law in tackling hate speech, a nuanced and increasingly difficult to isolate issue. This is due to an instance of hate speech having the potential to cover a wide variety of legal actions and regulations. This in and of itself can be problematic; actions may not quite fit the scenario to which they apply or require careful adherence and scrutiny to ensure a just outcome. Continue reading
Sad news indeed from the media law Bar, One Brick Court has announced its closure. Our best wishes are with members of Chambers and our greatest respect to its distinguished reputation over 130 years of practice.
One Brick Court, the long established set of specialist media law barristers has announced today that it is to dissolve, with effect from 24 June 2019. The set has explained that the dissolution is due to “recent unexpected departures and a retirement“.
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From the hallmark case of Campbell and the development of breach of privacy as an action, it is clear that the integration of privacy as a concept in English law is still in its formative years. In Part III we consider some of the significant cases post-Campbell to date, bringing into relief key issues and developments in privacy law, many of which are ongoing or merit further consideration by the courts. In particular, the broad nature of an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy becomes clear (covering issues of children’s privacy and biometric data retention) and the degree to which this can be qualified against other rights is explored.
On 29 November 2018, the Government published its response to the 2013 consultation on costs protection in defamation and privacy claims. In particular, the written statement by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice summarizes the amendments to costs provisions, raising access to justice concerns.
In short, the Government has decided to implement s.44 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LAPSO) Act 2012, making claimant lawyers success fees under conditional fee agreements (“CFAs”) unrecoverable from defendants in defamation and privacy cases commencing 6 April 2019. The consolation is that after-the-event insurance (“ATE”) fees remain recoverable. This article considers how these changes perpetuate imperfect solutions that harm access to justice.
In Part II we consider the legislative framework under English law which enshrined privacy and the recent development of the action for misuse of private information, underpinned by privacy as a value.
The right to privacy was codified into legislation at European Union level in the European Convention of Human Rights, which provides a higher level interpretive layer of guidance on the application of such rights. However, these provisions required integration into English law via legislation to be effective. In taking the lead from the European authorities Parliament passed the Human Rights Act 1998 (“HRA”) to achieve such harmonisation. Article 8 of the HRA addresses the right to a private life:
- Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
- There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
This article is meant to illustrate the development of the concept of privacy under English law, is by no means exhaustive and provides a general reference to key developments.
Many doctrines under English law form due to common law, also known as judge-made or case law, where a series of legal cases create and form doctrines or principles which underpin legal rights. Privacy emerged as a notion in common law in the 18th century, developing through cases, until it was legislated in the 20th century under the European Convention on Human Rights, which was integrated into English law by the Human Rights Act 1998. In Part I we explore the early common law cases which introduced the concept of privacy to English law.
In a keynote speech before the European Parliament in Brussels on 24 October 2018, Tim Cook CEO of Apple called for the implementation of a Federal privacy law, praising the Parliament for its implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”):
“We at Apple are in full support of a comprehensive Federal privacy law in the United States. There, and everywhere, it should be rooted in four essential rights: First, the right to have personal data minimized… Second, the right to knowledge… Third, the right to access… and fourth the right to security.”
Data-driven companies are painfully aware that they need to be seen to take consumer privacy seriously or risk alienating customers. However, they are also aware of the regulatory burden new laws would place on their operations. The result is a covert attempt to undermine state legislative efforts by pushing for superseding Federal privacy laws.