Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd: QBD 24 Jul 2008

The defendant published a film showing the claimant involved in sex acts with prostitutes. It characterised them as ‘Nazi’ style. He was the son of a fascist leader, and a chairman of an international sporting body. He denied any nazi element, and claimed in breach of confidence.
Held: ‘The law [of confidence] now affords protection to information in respect of which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, even in circumstances where there is no pre-existing relationship giving rise of itself to an enforceable duty of confidence. That is because the law is concerned to prevent the violation of a citizen’s autonomy, dignity and self-esteem. It is not simply a matter of ‘unaccountable’ judges running amok. Parliament enacted the 1998 statute which requires these values to be acknowledged and enforced by the courts.’ The clandestine recording of sexual activity on private property must be taken to engage Article 8. What requires closer examination is the extent to which such intrusive behaviour could be justified by reference to a countervailing public interest.
As to the application for exemplary damages, the extension of such awards to cases involving breach of confidence would no doubt have to be dealt with at the House of Lords. However, there was another factor which ‘probably’ had to be taken into account, namely vindication to mark the infringement of the right.
Eady J considered the criticism of CC v AB in its moral relativism. It was ‘largely because of a failure to appreciate the task which judges are now required to carry out in the context of the rights-based environment introduced by the Human Rights Act, hitherto largely unfamiliar in our common law tradition. In deciding whether a right has been infringed, and in assessing the relative worth of competing rights, it is not for judges to make individual moral judgments or to be swayed by personal distaste. It is not simply a matter of personal privacy versus the public interest. The modern perception is that there is a public interest in respecting personal privacy. It is thus a question of taking account of conflicting public interest considerations and evaluating them according to increasingly well recognised criteria. ‘

Eady J
[2008] EWHC 1777 (QB), [2008] EMLR 20
European Convention on Human Rights 8 10
England and Wales
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .
CitedAsh and Another v McKennitt and others CA 14-Dec-2006
The claimant was a celebrated Canadian folk musician. The defendant, a former friend, published a story of their close friendship. The claimant said the relationship had been private, and publication infringed her privacy rights, and she obtained an . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedDudgeon v The United Kingdom ECHR 22-Oct-1981
ECHR (Plenary Court) Legislation in Northern Ireland that criminalised homosexual behaviour which was lawful in the rest of the UK.
Held: There was a violation of article 8, but it was not necessary to . .
CitedLaskey, Jaggard and Brown v The United Kingdom ECHR 19-Feb-1997
A prosecution for sado-masochist acts was a necessary invasion of privacy to protect health. The Court found no violation where applicants were imprisoned as a result of sado-masochistic activities captured on video tape when police obtained . .
CitedFressoz 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 . .
CitedTammer v Estonia ECHR 6-Feb-2001
Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and one of the basic conditions for its progress and the self-fulfilment of each individual. Criminal penalties imposed in respect of the reporting of a . .
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 . .
CitedMurray v Big Pictures (UK) Ltd; Murray v Express Newspapers CA 7-May-2008
The claimant, a famous writer, complained on behalf of her infant son that he had been photographed in a public street with her, and that the photograph had later been published in a national newspaper. She appealed an order striking out her claim . .
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 . .
CitedCraxi (No. 2) ECHR 17-Jul-2003
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 8 with regard to release of transcripts into the public domain ; Violation of Art. 8 with regard to reading out of transcripts at trial ; Pecuniary . .
CitedADT v United Kingdom ECHR 4-Aug-2000
The UK law which had the effect of prohibiting non-violent homosexual acts by groups of males, was a violation of the right to respect for his private life. The law went beyond that which might properly be required in a democratic society for the . .
CitedSilver v United Kingdom ECHR 1980
(Commission) Complaint was made as to the censorship of prisoners’ correspondence. The censorship of prisoners’ correspondence was ancillary to prison rules restricting the contents of correspondence. The Commission, therefore, and the Court had to . .
CitedRegina v Brown (Anthony); Regina v Lucas; etc HL 11-Mar-1993
The appellants had been convicted of assault, after having engaged in consensual acts of sado-masochism in which they inflicted varying degreees of physical self harm. They had pleaded guilty after a ruling that the prosecution had not needed to . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedCC v AB QBD 4-Dec-2006
The claimant sought an order to prevent the defendant and others from making it known that the claimant had had an adulterous relationship with the defendant’s wife. . .
CitedPolanski v Conde Nast Publications Ltd HL 10-Feb-2005
The claimant wished to pursue his claim for defamation against the defendant, but was reluctant to return to the UK to give evidence, fearing arrest and extradition to the US. He appealed refusal of permission to be interviewed on video tape. Held . .
CitedRookes v Barnard (No 1) HL 21-Jan-1964
The court set down the conditions for the award of exemplary damages. There are two categories. The first is where there has been oppressive or arbitrary conduct by a defendant. Cases in the second category are those in which the defendant’s conduct . .
CitedCassell and Co Ltd v Broome and Another HL 23-Feb-1972
Exemplary Damages Award in Defamation
The plaintiff had been awarded damages for defamation. The defendants pleaded justification. Before the trial the plaintiff gave notice that he wanted additional, exemplary, damages. The trial judge said that such a claim had to have been pleaded. . .
CitedLeempoel and SA ED Cine Revue v Belgium ECHR 9-Nov-2006
‘In matters relating to striking a balance between protecting private life and the freedom of expression that the Court had had to rule upon, it has always emphasised . . the requirement that the publication of information, documents or photographs . .
CitedFrancome v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd CA 1984
The defendant had acquired illegal tapes of telephone conversations which it said implicated the plaintiff. He sought to restrain publication of the material pending forthcoming discliplinary charges at the Jockey Club.
Held: The court had to . .
CitedKuddus v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Constabulary HL 7-Jun-2001
There is no rule of law preventing the award of exemplary damages against police officers. The fact that no case of misfeasance in public office had led to such awards before 1964, did not prevent such an award now. Although damages are generally . .
CitedKitetechnology v Unicor GmbH Plastmaschinen 1995
It would not be correct to describe a infringement of breach of privacy as a tort. . .
CitedZ Ltd v A-Z and AA-LL CA 1982
The plaintiffs, an overseas company with an office in London had been defrauded here. They sought and obtained Mareva injunctions against defendants and against six clearing banks. The banks sought clarification of their duties.
Held: The . .
CitedMaxwell v Pressdram Ltd CA 1987
The court was asked whether disclosure should be ordered in the context of the statutory privilege which was created by s.10 of the 1981 Act. The publisher defendant had deposed that it would justify the material. At trial, however, the defence of . .
CitedRowlands v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police CA 20-Dec-2006
The claimant succeeded in her claims for general damages against the respondent for personal injury, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, but appealed refusal of the court to award aggravated damages against the chief constable.
Held: . .
CitedTolstoy Miloslavsky v United Kingdom ECHR 19-Jul-1995
The applicant had been required to pay andpound;124,900 as security for the respondent’s costs as a condition of his appeal against an award of damages in a defamation case.
Held: It followed from established case law that article 6(1) did not . .
CitedJohn v MGN Ltd CA 12-Dec-1995
Defamation – Large Damages Awards
MGN appealed as to the level of damages awarded against it namely pounds 350,000 damages, comprising pounds 75,000 compensatory damages and pounds 275,000 exemplary damages. The newspaper contended that as a matter of principle there is no scope in . .
CitedJones v Pollard, Mirror Group Newspapers Limited and Bailey CA 12-Dec-1996
Articles in consecutive issues of The Sunday Mirror accused the plaintiff of pimping for the KGB, organising sex with prostitutes for visiting British businessmen and then blackmailing them. The defendants pleaded justification. The plaintiff . .
CitedAshley and Another v Chief Constable of Sussex Police HL 23-Apr-2008
The claimants sought to bring an action for damages after a family member suspected of dealing drugs, was shot by the police. At the time he was naked. The police officer had been acquitted by a criminal court of murder. The chief constable now . .
CitedChester v Afshar HL 14-Oct-2004
The claimant suffered back pain for which she required neurosurgery. The operation was associated with a 1-2% risk of the cauda equina syndrome, of which she was not warned. She went ahead with the surgery, and suffered that complication. The . .
CitedArcher v Williams QBD 3-Jul-2003
The claimant brought an action for breach of confidence against a former employee. . .
CitedBonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
See AlsoMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 9-Apr-2008
The claimant sought to continue an interim injunction requiring the defendant not to publish a film on its website.
Held: A claimant’s Article 8 rights may be engaged even where the information in question has been previously publicised. . .

Cited by:
CitedCallaghan v Independent News and Media Ltd QBNI 7-Jan-2009
The claimant was convicted in 1987 of a callous sexual murder. He sought an order preventing the defendant newspaper publishing anything to allow his or his family’s identification and delay his release. The defendant acknowledged the need to avoid . .
CitedLumba (WL) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 23-Mar-2011
The claimants had been detained under the 1971 Act, after completing sentences of imprisonment pending their return to their home countries under deportations recommended by the judges at trial, or chosen by the respondent. They challenged as . .
See AlsoMosley v The United Kingdom ECHR 22-Oct-2009
. .
See AlsoMosley v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-May-2011
The claimant complained of the reporting of a sexual encounter which he said was private.
Held: The reporting of ‘tawdry allegations about an individual’s private life’ does not attract the robust protection under Article 10 afforded to more . .
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 . .
CitedGoodwin v NGN Ltd and VBN QBD 9-Jun-2011
The claimant had obtained an injunction preventing publication of his name and that of his coworker with whom he had had an affair. After widespread publication of his name elsewhere, the defendant had secured the discharge of the order as regards . .
CitedFerdinand v MGN Limited QBD 29-Sep-2011
The claimant, a famous footballer, complained that an article by the defendant relating an affair he had had, had infringed his right to privacy. The defendant relied on its right to freedom of expression. The claimant had at an earlier stage, and . .
CitedHannon and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another ChD 16-May-2014
The claimants alleged infringement of their privacy, saying that the defendant newspaper had purchased private information from police officers emplyed by the second defendant, and published them. The defendants now applied for the claims to be . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Media, Human Rights, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 12 January 2022; Ref: scu.271044