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 revealed and that the articles had been general in nature. The main concern related to the response to expert medcal evidence.
Held: The complaints were unadmissible. The interferences were prescribed by law and that they pursued a legitimate aim, namely maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
‘rules imposing requirements of confidentiality as regards judicial deliberations play an important role in maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary, by promoting free and frank discussion by those who are required to decide the issues which arise . . As to lay jurors, who are often obliged by law to undertake jury service as part of their civic duties, it is essential that they be free to air their views and opinions on all aspects of the case and the evidence before them, without censoring themselves for fear of their general views or specific comments being disclosed to, and criticised in, the press . . the rule governing the secrecy of jury deliberations was a crucial and legitimate feature of English trial law which served to reinforce the jury’s role as the ultimate arbiter of fact and to guarantee open and frank deliberations among jurors on the evidence which they had heard. It considers that the nature of this imperative is such that an absolute rule cannot be viewed as being unreasonable or disproportionate, given that any qualification or exception would necessarily lead to an element of doubt which could undermine the very objective which the legislation seeks to secure.’


Lech Garlicki, P


33510/10, [2012] ECHR 241, 32844/10




European Convention on Human Rights, Contempt of Court Act 1981 8


Human Rights


At AdmnHM Attorney General v Seckerson and Times Newspapers Ltd Admn 13-May-2009
The first defendant had been foreman of a jury in a criminal trial. He was accused of disclosing details of the jury’s votes and their considerations with concerns about the expert witnesses to the second defendant. The parties disputed the extent . .
CitedHM Attorney-General v Associated Newspapers Ltd and Others HL 4-Feb-1994
Following the acquittal of a prominent politician on a charge of conspiracy to murder, the New Statesman magazine published an article, based on an interview with one of the jurors, which gave an account of significant parts of the jury’s . .
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 . .
CitedObserver and Guardian v The United Kingdom ECHR 26-Nov-1991
The newspapers challenged orders preventing their publication of extracts of the ‘Spycatcher’ book.
Held: The dangers inherent in prior restraints are such that they call for the most careful scrutiny on the part of the court. This is . .
CitedMosley 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 . .
CitedMGN Limited v United Kingdom ECHR 18-Jan-2011
The applicant publisher said that the finding against it of breach of confidence and the system of success fees infringed it Article 10 rights to freedom of speech. It had published an article about a model’s attendance at Narcotics anonymous . .
CitedGutierrez Suarez v Spain ECHR 1-Sep-2010
(French Text) . .
CitedObserver and Guardian v The United Kingdom ECHR 26-Nov-1991
The newspapers challenged orders preventing their publication of extracts of the ‘Spycatcher’ book.
Held: The dangers inherent in prior restraints are such that they call for the most careful scrutiny on the part of the court. This is . .
CitedFinancial Times Ltd and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 15-Dec-2009
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 . .
CitedHandyside v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Dec-1976
Freedom of Expression is Fundamental to Society
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 . .
CitedBladet 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 . .
CitedRegina v Pan 29-Jun-2001
(Supreme Court of Canada) The court considered the reason behind the common law rule against a court examining the activities of a jury: ‘the rule seeks to preserve the secrecy of the jury’s deliberations, while ensuring that those deliberations . .
CitedRegina v Connor and another; Regina v Mirza HL 22-Jan-2004
Extension of Inquiries into Jury Room Activities
The defendants sought an enquiry as to events in the jury rooms on their trials. They said that the secrecy of a jury’s deliberations did not fit the human right to a fair trial. In one case, it was said that jurors believed that the defendant’s use . .
CitedTimpul Info-Magazin and Anghel v Moldova ECHR 27-Nov-2007
Particularly strong reasons must be provided for any measure limiting access to information which the public has the right to receive. . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Mar-2009
The applicant alleged that the rule under United Kingdom law whereby each time material is downloaded from the Internet a new cause of action in libel proceedings accrued (‘the Internet publication rule’) constituted an unjustifiable and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Media, Criminal Practice, Contempt of Court

Updated: 04 October 2022; Ref: scu.451243