Judith Townend reports:
An absence of existing privacy law in England has led to Parliament giving the courts a “free hand” to apply Strasbourg jurisdiction directly, the High Court judge Mr Justice Eady said last night. “There were few established domestic rules to get in the way,” he said.
Marking the launch of City University London’s new interdisciplinary Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism, Eady, who has judged many high profile libel cases, outlined where he perceived uncertainties in English law in a speech on ‘protecting free speech in the context of the European Convention of Human Rights’.
“The law of privacy is a new creature, deriving from the Strasbourg way of doing things, thus requiring language and terminology of its own,” he said.
During his speech he denied that privacy law was having a silencing effect on responsible journalism. He cited the recent (little reported, he claimed) Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism into privacy, probity and public interest:
“There is no evidence of the courts exercising a ‘chilling’ effect on responsible journalism in the public interest, but there is a challenge for newspapers and magazines who build a business model solely on infringing privacy through intrusive photographs or ‘kiss and tell’ revelations.”
Read more coverage of his comments on journalism.co.uk