Former popstar and baby-boomer heart-throb Cliff Richard is suing the BBC for breach of privacy regarding its report that he had been accused of a sexual offence, and also its coverage in 2014 of the subsequent police raid on his home. The BBC coverage included use of a helicopter, and broadcasting the police search through the glass walls of Mr Richard’s property. He was later exonerated from the police investigation.
The High Court has made an order in the anonymised case of NPV v QEL & ZED  EWHC 703 (QB) allowing for service of an injunction by text message. The case involves claims for misuse of private information and harassment in respect of an alleged blackmail attempt.
With a number of high-profile claims against Google in the offing, practitioners and individuals alike are hopeful for guidance on the interplay between the application of the ‘right to be forgotten’ principle and the forthcoming introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Iain Wilson, managing partner of Brett Wilson LLP, considers the issues at hand.
In January 2014, Andrew Skelton, an apparently disgruntled employee of Morrisons Supermarket posted a file containing the personal data (including salaries, bank details, and National Insurance numbers) of 99,998 Morrisons’ employees on a file-sharing website. It seems his intention was to cause mass-scale damage to the supermarket. In March 2014, a CD containing the data was sent to three UK newspapers, one of whom alerted Morrisons. Chief among the company’s concerns was the possibility of the data being used to aid theft or identity theft from the staff concerned. They acted quickly to get the file removed from the Internet within a few hours.
Selvaratnam Suresh, an honorary chairman, trustee and co-founder of the Oriental Fine Arts Academy of London (‘OFAAL’) has succeeded in his libel claim against Abdul Samad, Amirthalingam Nagarajah and Kajananan Sathananthan, after the defendants agreed to retract their allegations, apologise and pay compensation and costs. The first two defendants are parents of pupils at the West London Tamil School. The third defendant is a former pupil and the president of the school’s alumni association.
In the case of David v Hosany  EWHC 2787 (QB), His Honour Judge Moloney QC considered a libel claim brought by the claimant, a Governor of the East London Foundation NHS Trust, in respect of three publications by the defendant, another Governor of the same Trust. These publications alleged that the claimant had intimidated and harassed the defendant, with two of the publications containing allegations of sexual harassment.
The long-awaited decision in Lachaux v Independent Print Ltd  EWCA Civ 1334 has brought some badly-needed clarity and certainty to the law of libel, and it seems fair to say that reports of the death of the libel writ have been greatly exaggerated. The decision interprets both the meaning of section 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013 – “the serious harm” test – and determines the point at which a claim for libel crystallises.