Douglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others (No 3): CA 18 May 2005

The principal claimants sold the rights to take photographs of their wedding to a co-claimant magazine (OK). Persons acting on behalf of the defendants took unauthorised photographs which the defendants published. The claimants had retained joint copyright over the photographs and reserved a right to control publication of any particular photographs. In return they made various promises intended to maintain the exclusivity of the event. The injunctions restraining publication were lifted after the court was misled. An application to debar the defendants from defending for deceit failed. Assorted appeals were made.
Held: Though the photographs had been taken in New York, their publication here made it possible to claim here. The second test under Coco that information had to be imparted in circumstances importing a duty of confidence is no longer necessary ‘if it is plain that the information is confidential, and for the adjective ‘confidential’ one can substitute the word ‘private’. ‘ The publication did infringe the claimant’s rights of confidence, both by invading their privacy, and by damaging their ability to exploit properly the information about their wedding.
However the defendants were not liable to the subsequent claimants. The court considered at great length the tort of wrongful interference with contractual relations. ‘The gist of the tort of unlawful interference is the intentional infliction of economic harm. In other words, it must be shown that the object or purpose of the defendant is to inflict harm on the claimant, either as an end in itself, or as a means to another end. If foresight of probable consequences or subjective recklessness sufficed as the mental element of the tort, this would transform the nature of the tort.’ The claims by these claimants had no benefit from the law of confidence and were founded in economic torts.

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers MR, Clarke Neuberger LJJ
[2005] 4 All ER 128, [2006] QB 125, [2005] EWCA Civ 595, Times 24-May-2005, [2005] 3 WLR 881
England and Wales
Appeal fromDouglas etc v Hello! Ltd etc ChD 11-Apr-2003
The claimants were to be married. They sold the rights to publish photographs of their wedding, but various of the defendants took and published unauthorised pictures.
Held: The claimants had gone to lengths to ensure the commercial value of . .
CitedDouglas, Zeta Jones, Northern and Shell Plc v Hello! Limited (No 1) CA 21-Dec-2000
The first two claimants sold exclusive rights to photograph their wedding to the third claimant. A paparrazzi infiltrated the wedding and then sold his unauthorised photographs to the defendants, who now appealed injunctions restraining them from . .
CitedDouglas, Zeta-Jones, Northern and Shell Plc v Hello! Ltd, Hola Sa, Junco, The Marquesa De Varela, Neneta Overseas Ltd, Ramey ChD 27-Jan-2003
The claimants sought an order striking out the defendants’ defence on the grounds that, by destroying documents, the possibility of a fair trial had been prejudiced.
Held: Refusing the order, save as to certain paragraphs of the defence, the . .
CitedDouglas and others v Hello! Ltd etc ChD 7-Nov-2003
The claimants had succeeded in a claim of distress occasioned by breach of confidence and breach of the Data Protection Act by the taking and selling of photographs from their wedding.
Held: As to losses, for the magazine who had bought the . .
CitedSaltman Engineering Co v Campbell Engineering Co Ltd CA 1948
The plaintiffs instructed the defendant to make tools for the manufacture of leather punches in accordance with drawings which the plaintiffs provided to the defendant for this purpose. The defendant used the drawings to make tools, and the tools to . .
CitedPrince Albert v Strange ChD 8-Feb-1849
The Prince sought to restrain publication of otherwise unpublished private etchings and lists of works by Queen Victoria. The etchings appeared to have been removed surreptitiously from or by one Brown. A personal confidence was claimed.
Held: . .
CitedCoco v A N Clark (Engineers) Ltd ChD 1968
Requirememts to prove breach of confidence
A claim was made for breach of confidence in respect of technical information whose value was commercial.
Held: Megarry J set out three elements which will normally be required if, apart from contract, a case of breach of confidence is to . .
CitedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedHellewell v Chief Constable of Derbyshire QBD 13-Jan-1995
The police were asked by shopkeepers concerned about shoplifting, for photographs of thieves so that the staff would recognise them. The police provided photographs including one of the claimant taken in custody. The traders were told only to show . .
CitedKaye v Robertson CA 16-Mar-1990
A newspaper reporter and photographer invaded the (famouse) plaintiff’s hospital bedroom, purported to interview him and took photographs.
Held: The law of trespass provided no remedy because the plaintiff was not owner or occupier of the room . .
CitedVenables and Thompson v News Group Newspapers and others QBD 8-Jan-2001
Where it was necessary to protect life, an order could be made to protect the privacy of individuals, by disallowing publication of any material which might identify them. Two youths had been convicted of a notorious murder when they were ten, and . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedA v B plc and Another (Flitcroft v MGN Ltd) CA 11-Mar-2002
A newspaper company appealed against an order preventing it naming a footballer who, they claimed, had been unfaithful to his wife.
Held: There remains a distinction between the right of privacy which attaches to sexual activities within and . .
CitedTheakston v MGN Ltd QBD 14-Feb-2002
The claimant, a celebrity sought to restrain publication by the defendant of information about his sex life, consisting of pictures of him in a brothel. The court considered the test for the grant of an injunction to restrain publication under the . .
CitedD v L CA 31-Jul-2003
L and D lived together. Fearing the breakdown of the relationship, L used a voice activated recorder to record their conversations. D sought an order to restrain their publication after elements appeared in national newspapers. The court also . .
CitedAubry v Editions Vice-Versa Inc 9-Apr-1998
(Supreme Court of Canada) Publication in a magazine of an unauthorised photograph of a 17 year old girl sitting on the steps of a public building had violated her right to respect for private life conferred under Article 5 of the ‘Quebec Charter’ of . .
CitedVon Hannover v Germany ECHR 24-Jun-2004
Princess Caroline of Monaco who had, at some time, received considerable attention in the media throughout Europe, complained at the publication of photographs taken of her withour her permission.
Held: There was no doubt that the publication . .
CitedKitechnology BV v Unicor GmbH CA 1995
The plaintiffs owned confidential information relating to novel plastic coated pipes; the defendants were German companies and individuals domiciled in Germany, who it was alleged had used the plaintiffs’ confidential information. One issue the . .
CitedGilbert v The Star Newspaper Co Ltd ChD 1894
W.S. Gilbert had found that, in breach of the implied obligation upon cast members and theatre employees not to disclose the plot of the play in respect of which they were engaged, the plot of his comic opera ‘His Excellency’ had been disclosed to . .
CitedO Mustad and Son v Dosen and Another; O Mustad and Son vAllcock HL 1924
(Heard in 1924, but noted only in 1963) Dosen worked for a company T under a contract of employment that included an undertaking to keep confidential information acquired at work. His employer went into liquidation. The benefit of that company’s . .
CitedCreation Records Ltd and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd ChD 29-Apr-1997
A pop group had posed at a specially devised scene, consisting of a white Rolls Royce in the swimming pool of a hotel and incorporating various other props. The object of the exercise was to take a photograph to be used as a record cover. The . .
CitedShelley Films Ltd v Rex Features Ltd ChD 1994
Still photographs had been taken of a forthcoming film, which the producers had taken steps to keep confidential.
Held: A chancery judge may grant an injunction to restrain the publication of photographs taken surreptitiously in circumstances . .
CitedPhipps v Boardman HL 3-Nov-1966
A trustee has a duty to exploit any available opportunity for the trust. ‘Rules of equity have to be applied to such a great diversity of circumstances that they can be stated only in the most general terms and applied with particular attention to . .
CitedThe Sunday Times (No 1) v The United Kingdom ECHR 26-Apr-1979
Offence must be ;in accordance with law’
The court considered the meaning of the need for an offence to be ‘in accordance with law.’ The applicants did not argue that the expression prescribed by law required legislation in every case, but contended that legislation was required only where . .
CitedLonrho Ltd v Shell Petroleum Co Ltd (No 2) HL 1-Apr-1981
No General Liability in Tort for Wrongful Acts
The plaintiff had previously constructed an oil supply pipeline from Beira to Mozambique. After Rhodesia declared unilateral independence, it became a criminal offence to supply to Rhodesia without a licence. The plaintiff ceased supply as required, . .
CitedAllen and Hanburys Ltd v Generics (UK) Ltd 1986
A licence: ‘passes no proprietary interest in anything; it only makes an action lawful which would otherwise have been unlawful.’ . .
CitedLonrho plc v Fayed HL 2-Jan-1991
In a conspiracy, the intent to injure need not be the primary intent, but there must be some intent which involves the conspiring parties directing their minds towards the victim or a category of persons which would include the victim as a target to . .
CitedSW v The United Kingdom; CR v United Kingdom ECHR 22-Nov-1995
Criminal Law Change not retrospective
The law that marital rape was an offence, was not to be treated as retrospective despite being a common law change. The Court rejected complaints by two applicants who had been found guilty of raping their wives which was an undoubted extension of . .
CitedPeck v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-Jan-2003
The claimant had been filmed by CCTV. He had, after attempting suicide, left home with a knife, been arrested by the police and disarmed, but then sent home without charge. The CCTV film was used on several occasions to advertise the effectiveness . .
CitedOren, Tiny Love Limited v Red Box Toy Factory Limited, Red Box Toy (UK) Limited, Index Limited, Martin Yaffe International Limited, Argos Distributors Limited PatC 1-Feb-1999
One plaintiff was the exclusive licensee of a registered design. The defendant sold articles alleged to infringe the design right. The registered owner had a statutory right to sue for infringement. But the question was whether the licensee could . .
CitedKuwait Oil Tanker Company SAK and Another v Al Bader and Others CA 18-May-2000
The differences between tortious conspiracies where the underlying acts were either themselves unlawful or not, did not require that the conspiracy claim be merged in the underlying acts where those acts were tortious. A civil conspiracy to injure . .
CitedAllen v Flood HL 14-Dec-1898
Tort of Malicicious Inducement not Committed
Mr Flood had in the course of his duties as a trade union official told the employers of some ironworkers that the ironworkers would go on strike, unless the employers ceased employing some woodworkers, who the ironworkers believed had worked on . .
CitedMogul Steamship Company Limited v McGregor Gow and Co CA 2-Jul-1889
Ship-owners formed an association which in this action others claimed to be a tortious conspiracy.
Held: There is a cause of action against the conspirators where there is an agreement which constitutes an indictable conspiracy and that . .
CitedRCA Corporation v Pollard CA 1982
The illegal activities of bootleggers who had made unauthorised recordings of concerts, diminished the profitability of contracts granting to the plaintiffs the exclusive right to exploit recordings by Elvis Presley.
Held: The defendant’s . .
CitedCrofter Hand Woven Harris Tweed Company Limited v Veitch HL 15-Dec-1941
The plaintiffs sought an interdict against the respondents, a dockers’ union, who sought to impose an embargo on their tweeds as they passed through the port of Stornoway.
Held: A trade embargo was not tortious because the predominant purpose . .
CitedQuinn v Leathem HL 5-Aug-1901
Unlawful Means Conspiracy has two forms
Quinn was treasurer of a Belfast butchers’ association. Leathem, who traded as a butcher, employed some non-union men, although when the union made difficulties he asked for them to be admitted to the union, and offered to pay their dues. The union . .
CitedLonrho Ltd v Shell Petroleum Co Ltd (No 2) CA 6-Mar-1981
Lonrho had supplied oil to Southern Rhodesia. It gave up this profitable business when the UK imposed sanctions on that country. It claimed that Shell had conspired unlawfully to break the sanctions, thereby prolonging the illegal regime in Southern . .
CitedNational Phonograph Co Ltd v Edison-Bell Consolidated Phonograph Co Ltd CA 1908
The defendant had intentionally caused loss to the plaintiff by fraudulently inducing a third party to act to the plaintiff’s detriment. The court considered the tort of wrongful interference in contractual relations where a fraud had clearly been . .
CitedLonrho plc v Fayed CA 1989
There had been a battle to purchase the share capital of the House of Fraser which owned Harrods. Lonrho alleged that the Fayed brothers had perpetrated a fraud on the Secretary of State, and thereby secured permission to buy the company without a . .
CitedHadmor Productions Ltd v Hamilton HL 1982
The Court of Appeal was not in general entitled to reverse the decision of the Administrative Court in the grant of discretionary interlocutory relief: ‘it is I think appropriate to remind your Lordships of the limited function of an appellate court . .
CitedVan Camp Chocolates Ltd v Aulesbrooks Ltd 1984
(New Zealand Court of Appeal) The plaintiffs sued for interference with their business by unlawful means, namely breach of confidence. A preliminary point of law was argued as to the nature of the intent to injure the plaintiffs necessary to . .
CitedBarretts and Baird (Wholesale) Ltd v Institution of Professional Civil Servants (IPCS) 1986
A strike by civil servants in the Ministry of Agriculture in support of a pay claim was not intended to cause damage to an abattoir which was unable to obtain the certificates necessary for exporting meat and claiming subsidies. The damage to the . .
CitedAssociated British Ports v TGWU CA 1989
Application was made for an interim injunction and the court asked whether the plaintiff had shown that its claim involved a serious issue to be tried.
Held: The essence of the tort of wrongful interference was ‘deliberate and intended . .
CitedSouth Wales Miners’ Federation v Glamorgan Coal Company HL 1905
The union was accused of unlawful interference in contractual relations, and replied that their intention in calling a strike (inducing miners to break their contracts of employment) was to restrict production of coal and thereby raise its price. . .
CitedD C Thomson and Co Ltd v Deakin CA 1952
The defendant Trades Union was alleged to have indirectly prevented a supplier from performing its contract to supply paper to the plaintiffs by inducing its members to withdraw their services from the supplier.
Held: It is a tort at common . .
CitedMillar and Others v Bassey and Another CA 26-Aug-1993
It was alleged that Miss Shirley Bassey had breached her contract with a record producer Dreampace (or with her own management company which had in turn contracted with Dreampace), as a result of which Dreampace had been unable to perform a contract . .
CitedDimbleby and Sons v National Union of Journalists HL 1984
The Trades Union caused its members to withdraw their labour from the plaintiff, so preventing the plaintiff from performing a contract with a firm of printers. The conduct was aimed, primarily, not at the plaintiff but at the printers, with whom . .
CitedTorquay Hotel v Cousins CA 17-Dec-1968
The plaintiff contracted to buy oil for his hotel from Esso. Members of the defendant trades union blocked the deliveries of oil by Esso to the Hotel because of a trade dispute they had with the management of the hotel. The hotel sued for an . .
CitedMercur Island Shipping Corporation v Laughton 1983
Union officials blacked a ship, with the result that the plaintiff shipowners were unable to perform a time charter.
Held: The tort of indirect wrongful interference in contractual relations required an intention on the part of the defendants . .
CitedBourgoin SA v Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Food 1985
The Minister had revoked the plaintiffs’ licence in order to protect English turkey producers against competition from French turkey producers, knowing that this was in breach of the UK’s obligations under article 30 of the EEC treaty, that the act . .
CitedOBG Ltd OBG (Plant and Transport Hire) Ltd v Raymond International Ltd; OBG Ltd v Allen CA 9-Feb-2005
The defendants had wrongfully appointed receivers of the claimant, who then came into the business and terminated contracts undertaken by the business. The claimant asserted that their actions amounted to a wrongful interference in their contracts . .
CitedBourgoin SA v Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Food CA 1985
The plaintiffs were French producers of turkeys. They alleged that the Minister revoked their licence to import turkeys into this country by a decision that was ultra vires and motivated by a desire to assist British turkey producers, and that this . .
CitedThree Rivers District Council and Others v Governor and Company of The Bank of England (No 3) HL 22-Mar-2001
Misfeasance in Public Office – Recklessness
The bank sought to strike out the claim alleging misfeasance in public office in having failed to regulate the failed bank, BCCI.
Held: Misfeasance in public office might occur not only when a company officer acted to injure a party, but also . .
CitedIndata Equipment Supplies Limited (T/a Autofleet) v ACL Limited (Handed-Down Judgment of) CA 31-Jul-1997
A broker arranged through a finance house the leasing of cars and computers for clients. In one transaction he gave confidential information about the client and his own trade terms, including his profit margin, to the defendant which used it . .
CitedGeneral Tire v Firestone Tyre and Rubber Company Limited HL 1975
The object of damages is to compensate for loss or injury. The general rule for ‘economic’ torts is that the measure is that sum of money which will put the injured party in the same position as he would have been in if he had not sustained the . .
CitedCream Holdings Limited and others v Banerjee and others HL 14-Oct-2004
On her dismissal from the claimant company, Ms Banerjee took confidential papers revealing misconduct to the local newspaper, which published some. The claimant sought an injunction to prevent any further publication. The defendants argued that the . .
CitedMcManus and others v Beckham CA 4-Jul-2002
The claimant sought damages from the defendant who was a pop star, and had vociferously, publicly, and wrongly accused the claimant of selling pictures with fake autographs of her husband. The defendant obtained an order striking out the claim on . .

Cited by:
CitedMainstream Properties Ltd v Young and others CA 13-Jul-2005
The claimant appealed refusal of his claim for inducing a breach of contract against the sixth defendant. It said that an intention to disturb a contract could be inferred.
Held: A mere recklessness as to whether contractual rights were . .
CitedWeir and others v Secretary of State for Transport and Another ChD 14-Oct-2005
The claimants were shareholders in Railtrack. They complained that the respondent had abused his position to place the company into receivership so as to avoid paying them compensation on a repurchase of the shares. Mr Byers was accused of ‘targeted . .
CitedMeretz Investments Nv and Another v ACP Ltd and others ChD 30-Jan-2006
The applicant challenged the exercise of a power of sale under a mortgage, saying that the mortgagee’s purposes included purposes not those under the mortgage. The parties had been involved in an attempted development of a penthouse.
Held: The . .
CitedAssociated Newspapers Ltd v Prince of Wales CA 21-Dec-2006
The defendant newspaper appealed summary judgment against it for breach of confidence and copyright infringement having published the claimant’s journals which he said were private.
Held: Upheld, although the judge had given insufficient . .
CitedMersey Care NHS Trust v Ackroyd CA 21-Feb-2007
The defendant journalist had published confidential material obtained from the claimant’s secure hospital at Ashworth. The hospital now appealed against the refusal of an order for him to to disclose his source.
Held: The appeal failed. Given . .
CitedSawyer v Atari Interactive Inc CA 2-Mar-2007
The claimant designed games software and complained of infringements by the defendant of licensing agreements by failing to allow audits as required.
Held: The defendant should be allowed to be heard on the standard practices for management of . .
Appeal fromDouglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others; similar HL 2-May-2007
In Douglas, the claimants said that the defendants had interfered with their contract to provide exclusive photographs of their wedding to a competing magazine, by arranging for a third party to infiltrate and take and sell unauthorised photographs. . .
CitedLord Browne of Madingley v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 3-Apr-2007
The appellant sought to restrict publication by the defendants in the Mail on Sunday of matters which he said were a breach of confidence. He had lied to a court in giving evidence, whilst at the same time being ready to trash the reputation of his . .
CitedDigicel (St Lucia) Ltd and Others v Cable and Wireless Plc and Others ChD 15-Apr-2010
The claimants alleged breaches of legislation by members of the group of companies named as defendants giving rise to claims in conspiracy to injure by unlawful means. In effect they had been denied the opportunity to make interconnections with . .
CitedCTB v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another (1) QBD 16-May-2011
A leading footballer had obtained an injunction restraining the defendants from publishing his identity and allegations of sexual misconduct. The claimant said that she had demanded money not to go public.
Held: It had not been suggested that . .
CitedGoogle Inc v Vidal-Hall and Others CA 27-Mar-2015
Damages for breach of Data Protection
The claimants sought damages alleging that Google had, without their consent, collected personal data about them, which was resold to advertisers. They used the Safari Internet browser on Apple products. The tracking and collation of the claimants’ . .
CitedMezvinsky and Another v Associated Newspapers Ltd ChD 25-May-2018
Choice of Division and Business Lists
Claim that the publication of pictures of the young children of the celebrity claimants had been published by the defendant on-line without consent and without pixelation, in breach of their human rights, of data protection, and right to privacy. . .
CitedHRH The Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Ltd ChD 11-Feb-2021
Defence had no prospect of success – Struck Out
The claimant complained that the defendant newspaper had published contents from a letter she had sent to her father. The court now considered her claims in breach of privacy and copyright, and her request for summary judgment.
Held: Warby J . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property, Contract, Information

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.224943