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Tag Archives: Baroness Hale

Paul Weller’s children: another brick in the wall of privacy law

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The judgment in the privacy case of three of pop singer Paul Weller’s children (Weller v Associated Newspapers has caused a little confusion – not least among some of the press who might be expected to need to understand it best.

 

Mr Justice Dingemans has perhaps added another small brick in the developing English law of privacy – clarifying when pictures of stars can and cannot be published when they are going about their private lives. Here’s a brief rundown.

 

There is no tort of invasion of privacy in England. You can, in general, take pictures of whomever you want so long as you aren’t invading property rights to do so. Nor, broadly speaking, are their specific rights to those images belonging to the people who feature in them.

 

However, Dingemans notes: “After the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998, claims for misuse of private information were absorbed into the established claim for breach confidence; see A v B plc [2002] EWCA Civ 337 at paragraph 4. In paragraph 53 of Douglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others (No.3) [2005] EWCA Civ 595 Lord Phillips said “we cannot pretend that we find it satisfactory to be required to shoehorn within the cause of action for breach of confidence claims for publication of unauthorised photographs of a private occasion”. (Para 20)

 

In other words a privacy law is being bit by bit put together by the courts from the old Common Law of confidence (ie misuse of confidential information) and the European Convention on Human Rights – balancing Article 8 (right to family life) with Article 10 (freedom of expression including right to publish photographs of people).

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Lack of diversity has harmed UK Supreme Court’s judgments, says Baroness Hale

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The UK Supreme Court has never melded into a collective endeavour because of the lack of diversity among its justices, according to Baroness Hale, the only woman among the court’s 12 judges. The lack of diversity was a significant issue with constitutional implications. It meant the justices had failed to take on board differing perspectives in coming to their judgments.

She told the seventh hearing of the Lords Constitution Committee enquiry into judicial appointments that diversity was crucially important to courts such as the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal since their judges acted as a collective in coming to decisions. “The Supreme Court has this quality as a collective; the same applies to a lesser extent to the Court of Appeal … In disputed points you need a variety of perspectives and life experiences in order to get the best possible result. You aren’t going to get the best possible results if everyone is coming at the problem from the same point of view.”

She said that “the Supreme Court has not melded itself into a collective whole, into a collective endeavour. It would be easier to do that if we were less a bunch of individual stars”. It was not very good at allowing each Supreme Court justice to put forward arguments from different perspectives and arguing them through to come to a collective view.
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