JR38, Re Application for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland): SC 1 Jul 2015

The appellant was now 18 years old. In July 2010 two newspapers published an image of him. He was at that time barely 14 years old. These photographs had been published by the newspapers at the request of the police. The publication of the appellant’s photographs and those of others who had been involved in public disorder in Londonderry was part of a police campaign known as ‘Operation Exposure’ which was designed to counteract sectarian rioting at what are called ‘interface areas’ in parts of Derry. Interface areas are situated at the boundaries of parts of the city which are predominantly inhabited by one or other of the two main communities.
The appellant argues that publication of photographs of him constituted a violation of his article 8 rights. ‘
Held: The appeal failed. The publication of his photograph was not an infringement of the applicant’s human rights.
There was, per Lords Kerr and Wilson, in interference in his rights, but that interference was proportionate and justified.
Lords Toulson, Clarke, and Hodge did not think that there had been an interference with the appellant’s human rights, because in the circumstances there had been no expectation of privacy.
Lord Toulson JSC said: ‘ In Campbell’s case Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead said at para 21 that ‘Essentially the touchstone of private life is whether in respect of the disclosed facts the person in question had a reasonable expectation of privacy’. He also warned that courts need to be on guard against using as a touchstone a test which brings into account considerations which should more properly be considered at the later stage of proportionality. Applying Campbell’s case, Sir Anthony Clarke MR said in Murray’s case at para 35 that ‘The first question is whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy’. He said at para 36 that the question is a broad one which takes account of all the circumstances of the case, including the attributes of the claimant, the nature of the activity in which the claimant was involved, the place at which it was happening, and the nature and purpose of the intrusion. The principled reason for the ‘touchstone’ is that it focuses on the sensibilities of a reasonable person in the position of the person who is the subject of the conduct complained about in considering whether the conduct falls within the sphere of article 8 . If there could be no reasonable expectation of privacy, or legitimate expectation of protection, it is hard to see how there could nevertheless be a lack of respect for their article 8 rights.”


Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Toulson, Lord Hodge


[2015] HRLR 13, [2015] UKSC 42, [2015] WLR(D) 280, [2016] AC 1131, [2015] 3 WLR 155, [2015] EMLR 25, [2015] 4 All ER 90, UKSC 2013/0181


Bailii, WLRD, SC, SC Summary, Bailii Summary


European Convention on Human Rights 8


Northern Ireland


Appeal fromJR 38, Re Judicial Review QBNI 21-Mar-2013
Application for judicial review of a decision by the PSNI to release to local newspapers for publication images of persons suspected of being involved in sectarian rioting and violent offending at an interface area at Fountain Street/Bishop Street . .
CitedX v Iceland ECHR 18-May-1976
The right to respect for private life was held to ‘comprise also, to a certain degree, the right to establish and develop relationships with other human beings’. . .
CitedNiemietz v Germany ECHR 16-Dec-1992
A lawyer complained that a search of his offices was an interference with his private life.
Held: In construing the term ‘private life’, ‘it would be too restrictive to limit the notion of an ‘inner circle’ in which the individual may live his . .
CitedRotaru v Romania ECHR 4-May-2000
Grand Chamber – The applicant, a lawyer, complained of a violation of his right to respect for his private life on account of the use against him by the Romanian Intelligence Service of a file which contained information about his conviction for . .
CitedPG and JH v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Sep-2001
The use of covert listening devices within a police station was an infringement of the right to privacy, since there was no system of law regulating such practices. That need not affect the right to a fair trial. The prosecution had a duty to . .
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 . .
CitedSidabras And Dziautas v Lithuania ECHR 27-Jul-2004
Former KGB officers complained that they were banned, not only from public sector employment, but also from many private sector posts. This ‘affected [their] ability to develop relationships with the outside world to a very significant degree, and . .
CitedSciacca v Italy ECHR 11-Jan-2005
The court was asked whether the applicant’s rights under Article 8 had been infringed by the release to the press of an identity photograph taken of her by the Italian Revenue Police while she was under arrest and investigation for various criminal . .
CitedCemalettin Canli v Turkey ECHR 18-Nov-2008
The Court found interference in the applicant’s right to respect of his private life in that the police prepared and submitted to a domestic court an inaccurate report in the context of criminal proceedings against him. . .
CitedReklos and Davourlis v Greece ECHR 15-Jan-2009
(Press release) The court considered the rights when photographs were taken in public: ‘the court finds that it is not insignificant that the photographer was able to keep the negatives of the offending photographs, in spite of the express request . .
CitedWood v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis CA 21-May-2009
The appellant had been ostentatiously photographed by the police as he left a company general meeting. He was a peaceful and lawful objector to the Arms Trade. He appealed against refusal of an order for the records to be destroyed. The police had . .

Cited by:

CitedWeller and Others v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 20-Nov-2015
The three children of a musician complained of the publication of photographs taken of them in a public place in California. . .
CitedNT 1 and NT 2 v Google Llc QBD 13-Apr-2018
Right to be Forgotten is not absolute
The two claimants separately had criminal convictions from years before. They objected to the defendant indexing third party web pages which included personal data in the form of information about those convictions, which were now spent. The claims . .
CitedRichard v The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Another ChD 18-Jul-2018
Police suspect has outweighable Art 8 rights
Police (the second defendant) had searched the claimant’s home in his absence in the course of investigating allegations of historic sexual assault. The raid was filmed and broadcast widely by the first defendant. No charges were brought against the . .
CitedZXC v Bloomberg Lp CA 15-May-2020
Privacy Expecation during police investigations
Appeal from a judgment finding that the Defendant had breached the Claimant’s privacy rights. He made an award of damages for the infraction of those rights and granted an injunction restraining Bloomberg from publishing information which further . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Media, Police, Human Rights, Family

Updated: 23 November 2022; Ref: scu.549907