Media Law: Recent Work
By its very nature, the majority of Carter-Ruck’s pre-publication and privacy-related work is confidential and must remain so. However, a selection of recent media and defamation work highlights which are in the public domain is set out below.
Polo player secures libel victory over defamatory YouTube videos
Louisa Donovan has secured damages, an apology and payment of her legal costs following the settlement of her defamation claim against Kate Gibbons. The claim related to the publication of false and defamatory material on YouTube.
Former NHS Chief Executive secures libel win against Mail on Sunday
Margaret Edwards, former Chief Executive of the Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has secured substantial damages, apologies and costs from the publisher of the Mail on Sunday over false allegations published in the newspaper and on the MailOnline website. The Mail apologised for allegations that Ms Edwards had ignored warnings about a surgeon’s high mortality rates and promoted him against advice. In fact, an investigation report had made no such findings in relation to Ms Edwards, nor did it identify any failings in her conduct.
This settlement included the publication of an apology by the Mail on Sunday in July 2014 and a personal letter of apology from the Managing Editor.
Kate and Gerry McCann secure £55,000 in libel damages and apology from the Sunday Times
The Sunday Times has published a full apology and agreed to pay Kate and Gerry McCann £55,000 in libel damages (all of which they will donate to charity), over completely false allegations that they had kept secret from the investigating authorities crucial evidence relating to their daughter’s abduction. The Sunday Times also agreed to pay the McCanns’ legal fees.
Click here for Press Gazette article focusing on Carter-Ruck’s Defendant media practice.
The IndependentClick here to read the article
Partner Ruth Collard has been quoted at length in the Guardian on significant recent developments in the law of privacy.
Rt Hon Michael Mates secures apology from Crown Prosecution Service (‘CPS’)
The CPS has apologised and paid substantial damages to Michael Mates, the former MP for East Hampshire, after wrongly accusing him of an electoral offence when he stood as a candidate in the election for Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire in 2012.
Click here to read apologySee Daily Mail article hereSee BBC article hereSee Portsmouth.co.uk article hereSee Hampshire Chronicle article here
Rashid Ghannouchi wins defamation claim
Long-standing client Rashid Ghannouchi has won his defamation claim against French publisher Michel Lafon in the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris.
Oxford University Law Society
The Oxford University Law Society magazine, “Verdict”, has published an article by Nigel Tait and Zoe Brocket on the changes brought about by the new Defamation Act and its implications moving forward.
Please see here to read the article in full
BBC apologises over Panorama
The BBC is to apologise to the London School of Economics over an episode of Panorama which appeared last year concerning North Korea and which the BBC Trust has now criticised as having breached a number of the BBC’s editorial guidelines.
Simon Cowell secures apology from Mail on Sunday
The publishers of the Mail on Sunday have published an apology to Simon Cowell.
Tamara Ecclestone loses “custody battle” over Lamborghini
Ecclestone v Elite Motors  EWHC 29 (QB)
The High Court has now given judgment in the dispute which followed what was widely reported as the “custody battle” between Tamara Ecclestone and her former boyfriend Omar Khyami over ownership of a Lamborghini Aventador which he claimed (and she denied) had been given to him as a birthday present.
In his judgment Dingemans J found that the car had indeed been a gift to Mr Khyami and that the interim injunction which Ms Ecclestone had obtained had been given on the basis of false evidence. As the car had in fact belonged to Mr Khyami at the relevant time, he had been entitled to sell the car to Elite Motors which had in turn been entitled to sell it on. Ms Ecclestone was accordingly liable to the remaining parties in the case and was ordered to deliver up the car and pay damages.
Former RAF Dean secures libel win against Associated Newspapers
Professor Joel Hayward, the former Dean of RAF College Cranwell and a prominent and respected academic in the fields of international politics and modern conflict, has secured substantial damages, an apology and costs from Associated Newspapers in respect of false allegations made against him in articles published in the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail and on the MailOnline website in August 2011. Associated Newspapers apologised for its false allegations to the effect that the beliefs of Professor Hayward, who is a Muslim, had prevented him from fulfilling his duty of impartiality and fairness as a teacher in the RAF and had caused him to show undue favouritism to Islamic students and to spend too much time on Islamic activities as opposed to his professional and academic obligations.
This settlement follows the publication of an apology by the Daily Star last year concerning similar false allegations it had made about Professor Hayward.
Carter-Ruck acted for Professor Hayward on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis and with the benefit of ATE insurance cover provided by Temple Legal Protection.
Prime Minister Mbabazi of Uganda
Associated Newspapers has apologised in Court to Prime Minister Mbabazi for articles headed “£10m foreign aid went to cronies of Ugandan PM”, and “Britain and Ireland suspend aid to Uganda after £10m of funding ends up in Prime Minister’s account”. In a Statement in Open Court, Associated Newspapers confirmed the publishers had undertaken not to repeat the allegations and agreed to pay Prime Minister Mbabazi a substantial sum in damages, together with his legal costs.
Tristram Cokes – Libel success against Yachting World Magazine
Tristram Cokes, a well-known surfer and businessman, has secured a full apology as well as substantial libel damages over false allegations which appeared in Yachting World magazine.
The Mail apologises and pays £110,000 in libel damages over chemical weapons libel
The publisher of the Daily Mail has apologised for an article on its website which falsely linked Britam Defence Ltd (a leading UK-based risk management and training consultancy), and two of its senior Directors (David Goulding and Philip Doughty) with an alleged plot to carry out a chemical weapons atrocity in Syria.
British charity receives apology and libel damages from Jewish Chronicle
The CEO and Trustees of British charity Human Appeal International have received an apology and substantial damages from the Jewish Chronicle following publication of untrue allegations concerning the charity’s activities and status.
Isabel Martorell is quoted in the Independent newspaper, concerning privacy law issues arising out of controversial facebook pages which encouraged students anonymously to rate the performance of their sexual partners.
Libel Success for Hardeep Singh
Carter-Ruck has successfully represented journalist Hardeep Singh in his libel claim against actor Rizwan Ahmed. The claim concerned false allegations about Mr Singh that were published on Twitter by Mr Ahmed.
Mr Ahmed has provided Mr Singh with a formal apology and has agreed to pay him substantial damages for libel and his legal costs.
Click here for a further report on the matter.
Tunisian party leader secures libel success against BBC
Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Tunisian political party Ennahda, has received an apology and substantial damages from the BBC following publication of untrue allegations on its website.
Amir Khan successfully defends libel claim
Carter-Ruck has successfully represented British boxer Amir Khan, a former two-time world champion, against a substantial libel claim brought by a fellow boxer.
Kate and Gerry McCann
Carter-Ruck brought a successful application for contempt of Court against an individual who had repeatedly published false and highly defamatory allegations about the couple, in breach of formal undertakings which he had given to the Court in 2009. Recognising the seriousness and persistency of the individual’s conduct, the Court imposed a three-month suspended prison sentence. The individual has subsequently agreed to withdraw an appeal of the committal order, to abide by his undertakings in future and to pay costs to the Claimants.