However, Lord McNally suggested in an interview with The Daily Telegraph that the new legislation would go further, in effect creating a privacy law.

He conceded that there were concerns that a privacy law had been created through successive rulings by judges. Some, such as Mr Justice Eady, have been heavily criticised.

Lord McNally said: “There was a danger that we were getting towards having privacy law by judicial decision. If we are going to have a privacy law it should be openly debated and freely decided by Parliament.”

Umm, no, I\’m not a lawyer, but I don\’t think that the courts have been making this up out of whole cloth somehow.

I have a feeling (which perhaps someone can confirm or deny) that what he judges have been doing is looking at the European humand rights stuff, that stuff which was encoded into English law under the Human Rights Act. There\’s something about a right to privacy of family life in there isn\’t there?

Which means that Lord McNally is being at best disingenuous. The judges are simply applying statute. We could go further though, pondering on whether the Human Rights Act had been freely and openly debated by Parliament for example. Even whether M\’Lord understands what he\’s talking about.

Or whether I do of course.

4 thoughts on “Hmmm”

  1. Last Friday, a leading Premier League footballer won a High Court injunction to prevent the publication of claims about his private life

    This is being called a “super-injunction”. But the real super-injunctions are the ones we aren’t allowed to hear about! (e.g. Trafigura)


    the article 8 Convention right guaranteeing respect for private life was brought into our law in the full light of day through the large front door of the Houses of Parliament, in the Human Rights Act 1998. Newspaper editors were perfectly aware of it at the time – as proven by the fact that the press persuaded the government to insert what is now section 12, precisely to give them special protection from prior restraint in privacy cases.

  3. There’s something about a right to privacy of family life in [the ECHR] isn’t there?

    Yes, Article 8 (a decent explanation of the mess here).

    I seem to recall one or more judges saying it is a bit poor that politicians complain about judges creating a privacy law given that Parliament has had plenty of opportunity to do so itself but hasn’t.

    At the heart of the privacy law debate is the conflict between the press wanting the freedom to investigate and report on anything they want (which for Paul Dacre seems to be people’s sex lives and fetishes), and our expectation of privacy and the right to privacy under Article 8.

  4. I don’t think McNally’s comment is too unreasonable. Even if you view Article 8 as applying to the actions of bodies other than the state, which is debatable, Article 10 protects the right to freedom of expression. As both articles allow for the rights to be restricted in order to protect the rights of others, there is huge scope for interpretation.

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