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5.07.18

Court of Appeal holds grant of permission to appeal is invalid

The recent judgment of the Court of Appeal in the case of Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring v Associated Newspapers Limited [2018] EWCA Civ 1470 provides an overview of how, and crucially when, permission to appeal should be sought at first instance. The subject matter of this case will be familiar to media law practitioners.  In 2015, the…

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18.05.18

Unjustified threats of legal action can amount to harassment

The facts: On 17 May 2018, the Court of Appeal, in the case of Worthington & Anor v Metropolitan Housing Trust Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 1125, upheld an ex-tempore judgment of His Honour Judge Owen QC delivered on 10 June 2016, in which he found that the Defendant housing association, Metropolitan Housing Trust Limited, had unlawfully…

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30.01.17

Harassment Warnings/Police Information Notices: Restraining Orders without due process?

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (PHA) was introduced to target stalking.  For the most part, Parliament had strangers in mind, whether physically following a victim and/or persistently giving them unwanted attention.  As is often the way, enforcement of the Act evolved from those early intentions.  Now, the vast majority of prosecutions involve people who know…

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26.04.16

Stalking and harassment: why aren’t we doing enough to stop it?

Following reports about the seven year ordeal suffered by Lily Allen, stalking is back in the mainstream media.  Most people will be familiar with the term ‘stalking’.  Unfortunately, familiarity can breed contempt: many people, including, significantly, many Police Officers, still either fundamentally misunderstand what stalking is, or fail to appreciate how serious a problem it…

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25.04.16

Culture Secretary calls for overhaul of online abuse law

Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, and Senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper have both called for a review of the law governing online harassment, stalking and abuse to prevent inconsistent enforcement and to encourage those affected to report the crime. The current position With the continuing rise in users of social media and a plethora of…

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9.11.15

Paul Gascoigne made subject of restraining order following harassment conviction

On 29 October 2015 former footballer Paul Gascoigne pleaded guilty to harassment of his former partner, Amanda Thomas, contrary to section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.  Mr Gascoigne sent abusive messages and threats through a series of tweets, phone calls and text messages alongside being verbally aggressive at her place of work. Handing down…

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3.08.14

False complaints to the Police: the witness immunity rule

In Crawford v Jenkins [2014] EWCA Civ 1035, the Claimant had sued the Defendant in false imprisonment and harassment on the basis of allegedly malicious statements made to the Police which had resulted in his arrest and detention.  The course of conduct said to amount to harassment consisted of two text messages sent to him…

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22.03.13

supreme Court considers 'prevention/detection of crime' defence in harassment cases

The supreme Court in Hayes v Willoughby, have considered the scope of the defence under s.1(3)(a) of the Protection of Harassment Act 1997. Under that provision, a person cannot be found liable for a course of conduct that amounts to harassment if their conduct was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime.  The…

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26.11.12

stalking becomes a criminal offence

On 25 November 2012, section 111 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 came into force.  This creates two specific offences: ‘stalking’, and ‘stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress’. The provision has inserted the offences into the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. The former offence carries a maximum prison sentence of six months,…

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20.02.12

CPs ordered to pay damages for for failing to protect individual from harassment

In R (Waxman) -v- CPs, QBD (Admin) (2 February 2012), Moore-Bick LJ considered the state’s responsibility to prosecute alleged criminal offences, an individual’s access to the civil courts and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. The Claimant had met F at college.  F had become obsessed with the Claimant and pursued a course of conduct amounting to harassment. …

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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.

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