Media Law: Recent Work
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.
Carter-Ruck advised an LSE student who participated in a visit to North Korea, which found itself at the centre of a much-publicised row between the LSE and the BBC. The trip had been covertly organised by the BBC as a means of allowing Panorama journalists surreptitiously to enter and film the country. However, the BBC had not informed the students of the true purpose of the trip, or the danger which they faced if the Panorama journalists (who were all posing as students) were caught filming by the North Korean authorities. The BBC’s conduct attracted widespread criticism including from Ben Bradshaw MP, the LSE and various other academic bodies including the Royal Society and the British Academy.
The Guardian - BBC denies endangering students with undercover visit to North Korea
Daily Mail - Students put at risk for an ego-boosting stunt
The Telegraph - Risking students' lives in North Korea was worth it, says BBC
BBC World News
Carter-Ruck Partner Isabel Martorell was interviewed by Zeinab Badawi on BBC World News Today, discussing the privacy proceedings brought in France following the taking of paparazzi photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge while on holiday there last year.
Fresh Consulting and Support Limited – Libel success against London Borough of Hillingdon
Fresh Consulting and Support Limited, a company which provides computer services and products to schools and businesses, has succeeded in its libel complaint against the London Borough of Hillingdon. The claim concerned false allegations which were made in a letter sent out to schools by the Council. The Council has paid Fresh Consulting substantial damages for libel and will also pay its legal costs.
CJC Working Group report published
The Working Group commissioned by the Civil Justice Council (of which Alasdair Pepper was a member) has now published its final report. The Working Group had been tasked with identifying the need, and possible mechanisms, for providing costs protection to parties to publication and privacy proceedings, in order to help preserve access to justice in light of the reforms to the CFA regime and the end of recoverable After The Event premiums.
The Court of Appeal has refused Tanzanian businessman Reginald Mengi permission to appeal Mr Justice Bean’s dismissal of his libel claim against Sarah Hermitage. Lord Justice Maurice Kay concluded that Mr Justice Bean had “disbelieved and rejected” the evidence adduced by Mr Mengi. The Judge found that Mr Mengi had no real prospect of success in pursuing an appeal.
Carter-Ruck is pleased to announce that it has been appointed to BT’s network of external advisers.
Sir Benjamin Slade - libel success against local Council
Sir Benjamin Slade has received a full apology over false allegations which were published on the website of Sedgemoor District Council concerning an application to hold a festival on Sir Benjamin’s land at Maunsel House in Somerset, which is a venue for weddings and festivals. Both the author of the comments and the Council have apologised to Sir Benjamin for their role in publishing the remarks and have paid him damages and his legal costs.
British claimant in libel success against French newspaper
Nicola Takieddine has received an apology and a sum in damages from the French language daily newspaper, Libération. Ms Takieddine, a British citizen living in London, brought proceedings in relation to allegations published in October and November 2011 by Libération, which has a readership in England and Wales. The newspaper provided an undertaking not to repeat the allegations, and has agreed to join in the reading of a Statement in open Court.
Hedge fund founder secures privacy injunction and £50,000 in damages
Elena Ambrosiadou, founder and CEO of the IKOS hedge fund, has succeeded in her privacy claim against her estranged husband Martin Coward. Mr Coward agreed to submit to a permanent injunction, and to pay £50,000 in damages, after he leaked a document to the press containing private information about Ms Ambrosiadou and her son, which he had served in family proceedings which were ongoing between the parties in Greece.
Partner Andrew Stephenson comments on access to justice in libel cases
John Yates in libel victory against Met Police Commissioner
Former Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner John Yates has succeeded in his libel complaint against Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe. In April this year, the Commissioner circulated a memorandum to the Home Secretary, Foreign Office and senior and middle-ranking police officers which contained false and defamatory allegations about Mr Yates. The Commissioner has now issued a correction and agreed to make a donation to Mr Yates' chosen charity, the Police Widows & Orphans Fund, and pay Mr Yates' legal costs.
News of the World phone hacking success
Carter-Ruck has successfully settled claims on behalf of victims of News of the World phone hacking, with each client obtaining a substantial sum in damages. The victims were represented by Ruth Collard, Luke Staiano and Zoe Brocket.
The Sunday Times has reported the settlement of a libel action brought by Adam Ingram, the former Labour MP and Minister of State. The case concerned a false allegation that Mr Ingram was responsible for making a corrupt payment to Saif Gaddafi, the son of the late Libyan ruler. On 28 June, the newspaper apologised in court to Mr Ingram for publishing the allegation which it accepted was untrue. On 16 December, the newspaper published on page 2 a report of the outcome of the case, confirming that the Sunday Times had paid Mr Ingram substantial damages and agreed to pay his legal costs.
Sally Bercow defends libel claim
Carter-Ruck is representing Sally Bercow, the wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons, in libel proceedings brought by Lord McAlpine of West Green.
Carter-Ruck Associate Stevie Loughrey quoted in The Times regarding reform of contempt laws
Luciana Gimenez Morad
Model and Brazilian TV presenter Luciana Gimenez Morad (mother of Mick Jagger's son, Lucas) has received an apology, costs and damages from the Daily Mail, in respect of false allegations made about her in an article published by the paper in July 2012. The allegations included a false statement that Ms Morad had sought a lump sum payment - beyond monthly child support - from the rock star following the birth of Lucas.
Carter-Ruck has successfully defended a claim for defamation brought against Sarah Hermitage by the Tanzanian businessman Reginald Mengi. The case concerned five postings on a blog, "The Truth about Silverdale Farm", and two emails Ms Hermitage had sent. Mr Justice Bean dismissed the claim, stating that Ms Hermitage's publications were substantially justified and in any case a measured, even restrained, response to the attack she and her husband had endured from the media in Tanzania. The Judge ordered that Mr Mengi should pay the defence costs on an indemnity basis.
The Leveson Report: what can we expect?
Carter-Ruck Partner Guy Martin interviewed on BBC news about liability for twitter
Carter-Ruck successfully defends client against Privacy injunction
Acting for the Defendant in anonymised proceedings, Carter-Ruck successfully defended an application for an injunction to restrain the alleged threatened disclosure of private information and conduct alleged to amount to harassment. In a private hearing held on 7 November, Mr Justice Tugendhat held that in the circumstances, for the Court to grant an injunction against the Defendant would be "excessive and disproportionate".
Although an injunction to restrain disclosure of private information commonly engages the Convention right of freedom of expression under Article 10, significantly that right was not engaged in this case as it was the Defendant's case that he was not threatening or intending to publish the information. The approach of the Court was therefore not governed by the Human Rights Act s.12 but by the general principle applicable to interim injunctions namely the American Cyanamid test.
Apology to Rashid Ghannouchi
The Independent has apologised to Rashid Ghannouchi, leader of the largest Tunisian political party An Nahda, following its repetition of false claims concerning the receipt of unlawful campaign donations from Qatar.
Bryan Adams wins privacy complaint
Bryan Adams and his partner have succeeded in their privacy complaint against the Daily Mail concerning the publication of photographs taken of their baby daughter. The Daily Mail has undertaken not to republish the images complained of, has confirmed that it will not breach the child’s privacy in future and will comply with Clause 6 of the PCC Code which protects children from unwarranted media intrusion. The Daily Mail has also agreed to pay damages and legal costs.
Mr Amir Khan
The boxer Amir Khan has received an apology, costs and a donation to charity from The Huffington Post in respect of false allegations made about him in an article published on their website on 11 June 2012.
Click here to read the apology
Durand School obtains vindication in libel action
The Headteacher, Director of Educational Development and former Chairman of Governors of the Lambeth-based Durand Academy (formerly Durand Primary School), have settled their libel proceedings against the London Borough of Lambeth and the Council’s former Chief Internal Auditor, Mohammed Khan.
Mark McLaughlin, Greg Martin and Jim Davies agreed confidential terms of settlement with the defendants.
As a Statement made in open Court records, Lambeth has accepted that any allegation of financial impropriety – made by Mr Khan in a briefing paper to a government department – would have been 'quite untrue', and expressed their regret at the upset caused to the claimants by the briefing paper.
Mr Martin said on behalf of the claimants:
“We are pleased that Lambeth has finally withdrawn the allegation of financial impropriety made against us, and that a satisfactory settlement of the litigation has been reached.”
“There was no public interest in the making of such allegations and we had no alternative than to take the action that we did in order to vindicate our reputations and by association that of the school.”
“Contrary to some mischievous reports that have appeared in the press, the school made enormous efforts to avoid litigation but Lambeth simply refused to publish any correction. We only take such legal action as a last resort.”
The Statement in Open Court can be viewed here
Sunday Times apologises to Adam Ingram
The Sunday Times has apologised to Adam Ingram, the former Labour MP and Minister of State, over false allegations that Mr Ingram was responsible for making a corrupt payment to Saif Gaddafi, the son of the late Libyan ruler. The Sunday Times has also agreed to pay Mr Ingram damages and his legal costs.
See here for Press release
See here for the Statement in Open Court
Sergei Polonsky serves proceedings on Alexander Lebedev
Read the Press Release herePress Gazette Article