| NIQB 41||Ref: BUR10570||BUR10570|
|Judgment: approved by the Court for handing down||Delivered:||28/2/2018|
|(subject to editorial corrections)*|
“"(1) Pursuant to section 91 of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978, section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Court’'s inherent jurisdiction an Order granting the Plaintiff leave to issue the Writ of Summons in an anonymised form, a reporting restriction in relation to the reporting of these proceedings and/or an anonymity order in respect of the identification of the Plaintiff in the terms of a draft order scheduled to the summons;
(2) An interim injunction preventing the Defendant from publishing the Image as set out at schedule 1 to the Summons;
(3) An order pursuant to section 10 of the Data Protection Act 1998 requiring the Defendant as a Data Controller to cease, or not to begin, processing, or processing for the purpose of publication the Image; and
(4) Further or other order as deemed appropriate by the court.”"
“"(1) An order providing for a reporting restriction by way of anonymity order in respect of the Plaintiff;
(2) Further, or in the alternative, an interim and/or final injunction preventing the Defendant from publishing the Image;
(3) Further, or in the alternative, an order pursuant to section 10 of the Data Protection Act 1998 requiring the Defendant as the Data Controller to cease or not to begin processing or processing for the purpose of publication the Image;
(4) Further, or in the alternative, damages and/or an account of the profits for breach of copyright;
(5) Further, or in the alternative, compensation pursuant to section 13 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and consequential relief pursuant to section 14 of the Data Protection Act 1998;
(6) Further, or in the alternative, damages including aggravated damages at common law for invasion of privacy;
(7) Interest thereon;
(9) Further, or other Order as deemed appropriate by the court”".
The factual matrix
(i) By affording access to everyone, if the privacy settings have not been properly set to protect the Image, has an implied consent been given?
(ii) Would the use of the Image in this case fall outside the General Editorial Guidelines of the Press Complaints Commission or its rulings - that it is acceptable in some circumstances for the press to publish information taken from social media websites, which could arise when the individual concerned has come to public attention as the result of their own actions, or are otherwise relevant to an incident currently in the news, when they may expect to be the subject of some media scrutiny. To that is added further guidance that journalists must take into account whether a photo is “"innocuous and used simply to illustrate what someone looks like”" saying in such a case “"it is less likely that publication will amount to a privacy intrusion”"; and
(iii) Assuming the right of privacy does exist, should the approach of the court be to carry out a balancing exercise between the rights of each party under Articles 8 and 10 respectively of the Convention.
(a) The use of the Image, whether addressed under the respective headings of an invasion of privacy, a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 or a breach of copyright in the Image which shows the Plaintiff enjoying herself in a domestic setting. It is alleged that this is dissonant with (or jars with) the reporting of criminal proceedings, and is entirely unrelated to the criminal charges made against her (‘'Issue 1’'); and
(b) Injunctive relief should be given to remove the Image and that damages should be paid, including aggravated damages for the distress “"a reasonable person of ordinary sensibility would feel if placed in the same position as the Plaintiff and faced with the same publicity (‘'Issue 2’').
(a) That she had been charged with such an offence;
(b) Knowing her guilt, that she would be facing court and the inevitable sentencing by the court for that offence; and
(c) The publication of the facts of the charge with personal details which, without a photograph, would have identified her to members of the public who knew her, not least by way of a relationship to her son whose name is juxtaposed with that of hers in the article.
The Legal framework
Setting to one side for the moment whether by reason of the privacy settings the Plaintiff had given an implied consent to the use of any photographs on her Facebook page, in the circumstances of the case had the Plaintiff a reasonable expectation of privacy? In Weller v Associated Newspapers Ltd  1WLR page 1541 at 1546 Lord Dyson MR stated:
“"15. The correct general approach to the question whether a publication is in breach of a person’'s privacy rights has been considered on many occasions both in our domestic courts and in Strasbourg. The House of Lords decision in Campbell v MGN Ltd  UKHL 22,  2 AC 457 is a good starting point. It established that a two stage test should be applied in these cases. The first stage is to ask ‘'whether in respect of the disclosed facts the person in question had a reasonable expectation of privacy’'. If the person did not have such an expectation, the claim for misuse of private information, which is effectively a breach of Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, fails. If he or she did have such an expectation, then the court has to conduct the balancing exercise of weighing the person’'s privacy rights under Article 8 of the Convention against the publisher’'s right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the Convention. The balancing exercise was described by Lord Steyn in Re S (a child)(Identification: Restrictions on Publications)  1 AC 593 at paragraph 17 as ‘'an intense focus on the comparative importance of the specific rights being claimed’'.
16. In Murray v Express Newspapers Plc  Ch 481 the court stated:
‘'36. As we see it, the question whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy is a broad one, which takes account of all the circumstances of the case. They include the attributes of the claimant, the nature of the activity in which the claimant was engaged, the place at which it was happening, the nature and purpose of the intrusion, the absence of consent and whether it was known or could be inferred, the effect on the claimant and the circumstances in which and the purposes for which the information came into the hands of the publisher’'.”"
The general principal of freedom of expression has been the subject of many cases, but can be encapsulated in the following principles.
(a) It constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and is applicable not only to information that is favourably received but also to that which offends.
(b) The essential role played by the press in a democratic society has been repeatedly emphasised. Although the press must not overstep certain bounds, regarding, in particular, protection of the reputation and rights of others, its duty is to impart information and ideas on all matters of public interest. Not only does the press have the task of imparting such information and ideas, the public also has a right to receive them.
(c) The duty of reporting and commenting on court proceedings is inherent in the freedom of expression which contributes to the public status of the press, as envisaged in Article 6(1) of the Convention.
(d) It is not for the court to substitute its own views for those of the press as to what techniques of reporting should be adopted in a particular case.
(e) However, freedom of expression carries with it duties and responsibilities which apply to the media even with respect to matters of serious and public concern. Those duties and responsibilities are liable to assume significance when there is a question of attacking the reputation of an individual and infringing the rights of others. Therefore it is necessary for the media to verify factual statements that may be defamatory of the individual. But, in order for Article 8 of the Convention to come into play:
- an attack on the person’'s reputation has to attain a certain level of seriousness and occur in a manner causing prejudice to personal enjoyment of the right to respect for private life;
- the Article cannot however be relied on in order to complain of a loss of reputation which was the foreseeable consequence of a person’'s own actions, such as, for example, the commission by him or her of a criminal offence.
See Axel Springer v Germany  EMLR 151
The applicable test to set out in the Cream Holdings v Banjaree  UKHL 44 , [13–23]: -
“"13 … In the 1960s the approach adopted by the courts to the grant of interlocutory injunctions was that the applicant had to establish a prima facie case. He had to establish this before questions of the so-called ''balance of convenience'' fell to be considered. A prima facie case was understood, at least in the Chancery Division, as meaning the applicant must establish that as the evidence currently stood on the balance of probability he would succeed at the trial.
14. The courts were freed from this fetter by the decision of your Lordships'' House in American Cyanamid Co v Ethicon Ltd  AC 396. Lord Diplock said, at pages 407-408, that the court must be satisfied the claim ''is not frivolous or vexatious; in other words, that there is a serious question to be tried''. But it is no part of the court''s function at this stage of litigation to try to resolve conflicts of evidence on affidavit nor to decide difficult questions of law calling for detailed argument and mature consideration. Unless the applicant fails to show he has ''any real prospect of succeeding in his claim for a permanent injunction at the trial'', the court should proceed to consider where the balance of convenience lies. As to that, where other factors appear to be evenly balanced ''it is a counsel of prudence'' for the court to take ''such measures as are calculated to preserve the status quo''.
15. When the Human Rights Bill was under consideration by Parliament concern was expressed at the adverse impact the Bill might have on the freedom of the press. Article 8 of the European Convention, guaranteeing the right to respect for private life, was among the Convention rights to which the legislation would give effect. The concern was that, applying the conventional American Cyanamid approach, orders imposing prior restraint on newspapers might readily be granted by the courts to preserve the status quo until trial whenever applicants claimed that a threatened publication would infringe their rights under Article 8. Section 12(3) was enacted to allay these fears. Its principal purpose was to buttress the protection afforded to freedom of speech at the interlocutory stage. It sought to do so by setting a higher threshold for the grant of interlocutory injunctions against the media than the American Cyanamid guideline of a ''serious question to be tried'' or a ''real prospect'' of success at the trial.
22. … Section 12(3) makes the likelihood of success at the trial an essential element in the court''s consideration of whether to make an interim order. But in order to achieve the necessary flexibility the degree of likelihood of success at the trial needed to satisfy section 12(3) must depend on the circumstances. There can be no single, rigid standard governing all applications for interim restraint orders. Rather, on its proper construction the effect of section 12(3) is that the court is not to make an interim restraint order unless satisfied the applicant''s prospects of success at the trial are sufficiently favourable to justify such an order being made in the particular circumstances of the case. As to what degree of likelihood makes the prospects of success ''sufficiently favourable'', the general approach should be that courts will be exceedingly slow to make interim restraint orders where the applicant has not satisfied the court that he will probably (''more likely than not'') succeed at the trial. In general, that should be the threshold an applicant must cross before the court embarks on exercising its discretion, duly taking into account the relevant jurisprudence on Article 10 and any countervailing Convention rights. But there will be cases where it is necessary for a court to depart from this general approach and a lesser degree of likelihood will suffice as a prerequisite. Circumstances where this may be so include those mentioned above: where the potential adverse consequences of disclosure are particularly grave, or where a short-lived injunction is needed to enable the court to hear and give proper consideration to an application for interim relief pending the trial or any relevant appeal.
23. This interpretation achieves the purpose underlying section 12(3). Despite its apparent circularity, this interpretation emphasises the importance of the applicant''s prospects of success as a factor to be taken into account when the court is deciding whether to make an interim restraint order. It provides, as is only sensible, that the weight to be given to this factor will depend on the circumstances. By this means the general approach outlined above does not accord inappropriate weight to the Convention right of freedom of expression as compared with the right to respect for private life or other Convention rights. This approach gives effect to the parliamentary intention that courts should have particular regard to the importance of the right to freedom of expression and at the same time it is sufficiently flexible in its application to give effect to countervailing Convention rights. In other words, this interpretation of section 12(3) is Convention-compliant.”"