Dec 132010
 December 13, 2010  Posted by  Court, Non-U.S.

Hugh Tomlinson QC writes:

It is now well established in English law that a claim for misuse of private information can be brought in relation to information which purports to be private information about the claimant, whether or not the information is true.  French privacy law has long recognised the actionability of such publications – for example, in the case of Bardot v Ici Paris (TGI Paris, 1st Chamber, 28 March 1984) where the actress recovered damages in respect of a false story of a suicide attempt.


In the leading case of McKennitt v Ash ([2006] EWCA Civ 1714; [2008] QB 73) the Court of Appeal confirmed that the English law took a similar approach.  As Longmore LJ said in an oft quoted passage:

The question in a case of misuse of private information is whether the information is private not whether it is true or false. The truth or falsity of the information is an irrelevant inquiry in deciding whether the information is entitled to be protected and judges should be chary of becoming side-tracked into that irrelevant inquiry” [86].


There is, therefore, a potential overlap between privacy and defamation. In Terry v Persons Unknown ([2010] EWHC 119 (QB)) Mr Justice Tugendhat expressed the view that privacy and defamation only overlap in a limited class of cases. He identified four, there being no difficulty in the first three groups of cases:

Read more on Inforrm’s Blog.

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