Mosley 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 serious journalism. In such cases, ‘freedom of expression requires a more narrow interpretation’ and ‘The Court observes at the outset that this is not a case where there are no measures in place to ensure protection of Article 8 rights. A system of self-regulation of the press has been established in the United Kingdom, with guidance provided in the Editors’ Code and Codebook and oversight of journalists’ and editors’ conduct by the PCC . . This system reflects the 1970 declaration, the 1998 resolution and the 2008 resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe . . While the PCC itself has no power to award damages, an individual may commence civil proceedings in respect of any alleged violation of the right to respect for private life which, if successful, can lead to a damages award in his favour. In the applicant’s case, for example, the newspaper was required to pay GBP 60,000 damages, approximately GBP 420,000 in respect of the applicant’s costs and an unspecified sum in respect of its own legal costs in defending the claim. The Court is of the view that such awards can reasonably be expected to have a salutary effect on journalistic practices. Further, if an individual is aware of a pending publication relating to his private life, he is entitled to seek an interim injunction preventing publication of the material. Again, the Court notes that the availability of civil proceedings and interim injunctions is fully in line with the provisions of the Parliamentary Assembly’s 1998 resolution (see paragraph 58 above). Further protection for individuals is provided by the Data Protection Act 1998, which sets out the right to have unlawfully collected or inaccurate data destroyed or rectified . . The Court, like the Parliamentary Assembly, recognises that the private lives of those in the public eye have become a highly lucrative commodity for certain sectors of the media . . The publication of news about such persons contributes to the variety of information available to the public and, although generally for the purposes of entertainment rather than education, undoubtedly benefits from the protection of Article 10. However, as noted above, such protection may cede to the requirements of Article 8 where the information at stake is of a private and intimate nature and there is no public interest in its dissemination.’


Lech Garlicki, P


[2011] ECHR 774, 48009/08, [2012] EMLR 1, [2012] 1 FCR 99, (2011) 31 BHRC 409, (2011) 53 EHRR 30




European Convention on Human Rights 8 10, Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974


Human Rights


See AlsoMosley v The United Kingdom ECHR 22-Oct-2009
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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. . .
See AlsoMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd Admn 1-Jul-2008
The claimant the son of a former fascist leader, sought damages for breach of confidence and a right to a private life after the defendant newspaper published stories alleging that his involvement with prostitutes had included nazi rituals. The . .
See AlsoMosley 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 . .

Cited by:

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 . .
CitedTSE and ELP v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 23-May-2011
The claimants had obtained an injunction preventing publication of details of their private lives and against being publicly named. The newspaper had not attempted to raise any public interest defence. Various publications had taken place to breach . .
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 . .
CitedT, Regina (on The Application of) v Greater Manchester Police and Another Admn 9-Feb-2012
The claimant challenged the terms of an enhanced Criminal Records Certificate issued by the defendant. He had been warned in 2002 for suspicion of theft of two cycles. The record had been stepped down in 2009, but then re-instated. He wished to . .
CitedSeckerson 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 . .
CitedT and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department and Another SC 18-Jun-2014
T and JB, asserted that the reference in certificates issued by the state to cautions given to them violated their right to respect for their private life under article 8 of the Convention. T further claims that the obligation cast upon him to . .
CitedPJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd SC 19-May-2016
The appellants had applied for restrictions on the publication of stories about their extra marital affairs. The Court of Appeal had removed the restrictions on the basis that the story had been widely spread outside the jurisdiction both on the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Media

Updated: 12 September 2022; Ref: scu.439624