The claimants said that an order that they deliver up documents leaked to them regarding a possible takeover violated their right to freedom of expression. They complained that such disclosure might lead to the identification of journalistic sources.
Held: The protection of journalistic sources was part of the protection of freedom of expression: ‘protection of journalistic sources is one of the basic conditions for press freedom. Without such protection, sources may be deterred from assisting the press in informing the public on matters of public interest. As a result, the vital ‘public watchdog’ role of the press may be undermined and the ability of the press to provide accurate and reliable reporting may be adversely affected. Having regard to the importance of the protection of journalistic sources for press freedom in a democratic society and the potentially chilling effect that an order for disclosure of a source has on the exercise of that freedom, such a measure cannot be compatible with Article 10 unless it is justified by an overriding requirement in the public interest .’
In this case: ‘Interbrew’s interests in eliminating, by proceedings against X, the threat of damage through future dissemination of confidential information and in obtaining damages for past breaches of confidence were, even if considered cumulatively, insufficient to outweigh the public interest in the protection of journalists’ sources.’
L Garlicki, President, and Judges Sir Nicolas Bratza, G Bonello, L. Mijovic, D Bjorgvinsson, L Bianku and M Poalelungi
28 BHRC 616,  EMLR 21, 821/03,  ECHR 2065, Times 16-Dec-2009, (2010) 50 EHRR 46
European Convention on Human Rights 810
At first Instance – Interbrew SA v Financial Times Ltd and Others ChD 19-Dec-2001
The claimant was involved in takeover proceedings. Certain confidential documents were taken, doctored, and released to and published by the defendants who now resisted orders for disclosure of the source.
Held: The court must balance the . .
Appeal from – Financial Times Ltd and others v Interbrew SA CA 8-Mar-2002
The appellants appealed against orders for delivery up of papers belonging to the claimant. The paper was a market sensitive report which had been stolen and doctored before being handed to the appellant.
Held: The Ashworth Hospital case . .
Cited – Norwich Pharmacal Co and others v Customs and Excise Commissioners HL 26-Jun-1973
Innocent third Party May still have duty to assist
The plaintiffs sought discovery from the defendants of documents received by them innocently in the exercise of their statutory functions. They sought to identify people who had been importing drugs unlawfully manufactured in breach of their . .
Cited – Ashworth Security Hospital v MGN Ltd CA 18-Dec-2000
The court can order the identity of a wrongdoer to be revealed where the person against whom the order was sought had become involved in his tortious acts. This might apply even where the acts were unlawful, but fell short of being tortious. There . .
Cited – Ashworth Security Hospital v MGN Limited HL 27-Jun-2002
Order for Journalist to Disclose Sources
The newspaper published details of the medical records of Ian Brady, a prisoner and patient of the applicant. The applicant sought an order requiring the defendant newspaper to disclose the identity of the source of material which appeared to have . .
Cited – Ackroyd v Mersey Care NHS Trust CA 16-May-2003
The journalist was required to provide the source of his material. In an earlier hearing the newspaper had been ordered to disclose the name of its source, the journalist. The claimant obtained summary judgement, which the journalist now appealed. . .
Cited – Ackroyd v Mersey Care NHS Trust 18-Oct-2002
The medical records of a patient at the hospital had been provided by an employee to a journalist who then provided a story to the Mirror. An order had been made for the Mirror to disclose the source. An application was now made against the . .
Cited – Akdivar and Others v Turkey ECHR 16-Sep-1996
ECHR Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Preliminary objection rejected (abuse of process); Preliminary objection rejected (non-exhaustion); Violation of Art. 8; Violation of Art. 25-1; Violation of P1-1; No . .
Cited – Steel and Morris v United Kingdom ECHR 15-Feb-2005
The applicants had been sued in defamation by McDonalds. They had no resources, and English law precluded legal aid for such cases. The trial was the longest in English legal history. They complained that the non-availablility of legal aid infringed . .
Cited – Fressoz and Roire v France ECHR 21-Jan-1999
Le Canard Enchaine published the salary of M Calvet, the chairman of Peugeot, (which was publicly available information) and also, by way of confirmation, photographs of the relevant part of his tax assessment, which was confidential and could not . .
Cited – Bladet Tromso and Stensaas v Norway ECHR 20-May-1999
A newspaper and its editor complained that their right to freedom of expression had been breached when they were found liable in defamation proceedings for statements in articles which they had published about the methods used by seal hunters in the . .
Cited – Handyside v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Dec-1976
The appellant had published a ‘Little Red Schoolbook’. He was convicted under the 1959 and 1964 Acts on the basis that the book was obscene, it tending to deprave and corrupt its target audience, children. The book claimed that it was intended to . .
Cited – Seckerson and Times Newspapers Ltd v The United Kingdom ECHR 24-Jan-2012
The first applicant had been chairman of a jury and had expressed his concerns about their behaviour to the second applicant who published them. They were prosecuted under the 1981 Act. They had said that no details of the deliberations had been . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Human Rights, Media
Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.384140