Media and Information Law
Ampersand’s members are regularly instructed in areas of Media Law and we include in our ranked Band 1 rated counsel by Chambers and Partners.
The three areas of Media Law that generate litigation in which members are instructed are:
- Main stream defamation cases. Of interest is the increasing use of the responsible journalism, a.k.a. “Reynolds”, qualified privilege defence.
- Breach of privacy cases in which pursuers look to protect their private lives from intrusive media and press coverage. These cases tend to involve a balancing exercise between Convention rights of privacy and freedom of the press to report matters of public interest. The key distinction in this area is often between matters which are of genuine public interest on the one hand and matters which the public might find interesting because it engages their interest in celebrity culture on the other.
- Court imposed restrictions on the right to report details of court proceedings. These take the form of orders under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 or other legislation which empowers the court to anonymise proceedings or restrict reporting of the identity of children or vulnerable adults. They can also be granted under a common law power. The proper exercise of these powers requires due respect to be afforded to freedom of the press and media and the importance of the principle of open justice. These orders are becoming more common. The courts have devised procedures which permit the press and media to challenge those orders. These challenges have often resulted in recall or restriction of reporting restrictions which would otherwise prevent any meaningful reporting of the cases involved.