In light of its youth as a recognised standalone legal principle, the scope and parameters of privacy are in a state of constant flux, embodied by last year’s heavily reported privacy injunction battle between a high profile individual and a newspaper group, which was ultimately determined by the Supreme Court in PJS v News Group Newspapers.
As a result of this decision, the law of privacy presently protects two distinct aspects:
- The actual misuse (for example, via publication) of private information and;
- Preventing intrusion into an individual’s right to privacy.
The Courts have developed a number of tests in assessing both what is to be considered private information, and whether the circumstances are present in which it is lawful for that information to be disclosed, and it is often the case that these determinations will be acutely fact sensitive.
Apart from the tort of misuse of private information, privacy law also extends to encompass the much older tort of breach of confidence, and the more recent European led development of what is known as “the right to be forgotten”, which will be incorporated into the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation.
The law of privacy is often relied on in attempts to prevent publication (whether by a national newspaper, or in something as simple as an email) of material which a party considers private. This information may be considered private for reasons of commercial sensitivity, or for personal reasons, and we have successfully acted for both those seeking to block publication, and those intending to publish, on numerous occasions.
We assist various clients from news media and social media organisations to companies and individuals on all aspects of privacy law, ranging from emergency Court applications and right to be forgotten requests to advisory guidance and privacy reviews.