Could the media publish my private correspondence, even if I were Meghan Markle

Could the media publish my private correspondence, even if I were Meghan Markle?

When Mail on Sunday published the contents of private letters between the Duchess of Essex and her father, journalists and legal theorists around the UK asked themselves: Where has the right to privacy gone? How could one reach a balance between press freedom and later?

These publications peaked a feud between the British Media and Meghan Markle. She had a complicated relationship with her father in the public domain knowledge.

Notwithstanding, Markle filed a lawsuit against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) in August 2019. The Duchess of Essex won the case as ruled by a High Court summary judgement on February 11th earlier this year.

In the ruling, the Court examined the letter and established a "reasonable expectation of privacy", even when taking into account "the claimant's status and role". Additionally, the correspondence between daughter and father was a kind of content that one could expect "to remain private".

However, Mail on Sunday took it to the Court of Appeals, alleging the need for the case to go into full trial. The defence also claimed that Markle had known the correspondence was to be leaked.

Where do these rights come from, and why are they relevant?

The rights in the discussion are both parts of the European Convention on Human Rights (which still applies to the UK): Article 8, Right to privacy and Article 10, press freedom.

It's important to note that privacy law in the UK has been evolving from case law, as "judges began abandoning their strict view on the circumstances in which an obligation of confidence could occur" Nevertheless, certain private information could be disclosed only for the sake of public interest.

The balancing test is one of the critical factors taken into account when studying privacy cases; the judge has to balance between the rights in conflict and whose rights will prevail proportionately (See Campbell v Mirror Group Newspapers, 2004).

And. what's the latest?

On December 2nd 2021, the latest appeal on Markle v ANL was ruled in favour of the former. The Court of Appeal stood by the summary ruling made by Mr Justice Warby in terms of privacy and copyright laws.

Some argue that this ruling is an affront against freedom of the press; it might also remind that ethical journalism is not the same as tabloid sensationalism.

The Legists Content Team


Mc Nae's Essential law for journalists (2021).



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