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Media Law Exam Review Session 1

Note: These may be somewhat scattered and incomplete, same caveat with all my notes --  Battle moves really quickly through this stuff. Also, apologies for any spelling errors.

  • Have to answer all questions. “You need to know a little about a lot.”
  • “Preferable” to know the cases and the statutes.

Answers for 2010 test (Questions available on Moodle):

  1. Magistrates Court
  2. (Didn't get it)
  3. Crown Court
  4. Inditement
  5. Strasbourg
  6. Public authority
  7. Attorney General
  8. Ministry of Justice
  9. If in spoken word, is slander, not libel. So, no.
  • In terms of contagious diseases, damages don’t need to be proven.
  1. Not likely to succeed as libel action.
  • Does it succeed on its comment (”fair comment”) -- is it made without malice, is it made on the facts, etc. §1 doesn’t apply because it’s prerecorded. Berkoff v. Berchill case.
  1. Politicians personally can sue, though political parties can’t (Darbisher County Council v. Times Newspapers), an individual can sue if accused of corruption. Would have to prove what is being said; might be able to rely on Reynolds defence. Could apply for the case to be struck out due to insubstantial publication (Jameel v. Dow Jones). Could also be subject to proceedings outside of Britain.
  2. If said in a press conference (i.e., a public meeting), subject to qualified privilege (Breen v. Times Newspapers) if reporting is fair and accurate.
  • More the statutory qualified privilege (Defamation Act 1996)
  1. Probably defamatory, but might not be libellous if written in a straight manner. Would need comments from Met, the bank. Defences: justification (Lewis v. Daily Telegraph); relies on burden of proof. Possibly Reynolds Defence is you fairly and honestly report facts as known at the time. If not, the bank could get damages for losses but not for loss of share price (Tallit v. Financial Times)
  2. Limitation for bringing libel action for Internet article is 1 year from time it’s taken down.
  3. Absolute privilege (Defamation Act 1996)
  4. That the comment is fair.
  5. Never becomes spent.
  6. All the above.
  7. No photos of defendant or witnesses in court (Criminal Justice Act 1985). Shouldn’t harass either outside the court, though the practice is otherwise. Court orders in effect will change this.
  8. For sexual offences, criminal offence to identify (Sexual offences and amendment Act 1986) unless right to anonymity waived. Jigsaw identification comes into play; don’t identify even if they’re not named. §39 order prevents identifying youth.
  9. No, serious contempt of court. “Voi dere”
  10. No, time in trial when extra care is needed. In absence of order maybe be a straight report of charges, but not backgrounder or anything that could prejudice jury (Attorney General v. Mirror -- Leeds Football case)
  11. Automatic ban applies only to those who are youths (17 and lower). No ban on John Jones if turns 18 or when transfers to crown court (Basic principle of open justice). No ban on naming victim; would have to show caution in interviewing family.
  12. Sketches have to be made outside of court from memory. Would have to ask whether orders preventing identification of witnesses are in place. Highly unlikely to do a reconstruction of events.
  13. Applying to court under Art. 2 of European Bill of  Rights (Venables v. News Group Newspapers; case of Maxine Carr)
  14. First one involving a police should not have been made; not satisfactory reason offered (principle of open justice -- Ree (s) v. A Child -- only in rare and exception circumstances should such an order be made). May be justified for later trials to prevent substantial risk of prejudice.
  15. Just because defendent was in possession of heroin doesn’t mean there’s a moratorium on the topic; however, depending on the facts of the case, passing reference to current case might not be a great idea. Judge could halt the trial, could give directions to jury to ignore a particular article, could refer complaint to attorney general and/or order cost of trial to be paid by newspaper.
  16. Information confidential, has unauthorized use, and a duty to confidentiality is owed. Could argue right under Art. 10 and general public interest; also fact that information that’s going to come out into the public domain anyway. §12 of human rights act (injunctions), which states injunctions shouldn’t be granted unless the claimant can show they’re likely to succeed at trial (Lower bar than the Bonnard v. Perryman precedent set for libel). No copyright in the facts. Could lead to police investigation re: handling stolen goods. Might be able to force disclosure due to §10 of the (Police and Criminal Evidence Act? 1991?); in response, Art. 10 gives right to impact information (Goodwin v. UK). Camelot Group v. Centaur Communications
  17. Police wouldn’t be able to obtain without court order. Would have to satisfy certain tests in court. Harder for police to get disclosure under information deemed confidential; may be able to get under handling stolen goods.
  18. Order has been obtained by book publisher against somebody else and also applies to you (Spycatcher principle).
  19. Shouldn’t publish photos of her standing at grave (reasonable expectation of privacy), both PCC and Ofcom would rule against.