Axel Springer Ag v Germany: ECHR 7 Feb 2012

ECHR Grand Chamber – A German newspaper had published a story or stories about the arrest and conviction of a well-known TV actor, together with photographs, and various restraining-type orders had been issued by the German courts in relation to this. The propriety of these orders came before the ECHR.
Held: the German courts had gone too far: ‘In order for art 8 to come into play, however, an attack on a person’s reputation must attain a certain level of seriousness and in a manner causing prejudice to the personal enjoyment of the right to respect for private life. The Court has held, moreover, that art 8 cannot be relied on in order to complain of a loss of reputation which is the foreseeable consequence of one’s own actions such as, for example, the commission of a criminal offence.’
The Court went on to consider the balancing exercise which had to be conducted between the two articles and set out various criteria relevant to that exercise: ‘The Court notes that the articles in question concerned the arrest and conviction of the actor X, that is, public judicial facts that may be considered to present a degree of general interest. The public do, in principle, have an interest in being informed – and in being able to inform themselves – about criminal proceedings, whilst strictly observing the presumption of innocence. That interest will vary in degree, however, as it may evolve during the course of the proceedings – from the time of the arrest – according to a number of different factors, such as the degree to which the person concerned is known, the circumstances of the case and any further developments arising during the proceedings.’

39954/08, [2012] ECHR 227, 32 BHRC 493, [2012] EMLR 15, (2012) 55 EHRR 6
European Convention on Human Rights 8 10
Human Rights
Cited by:
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Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Defamation, Media

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.450756