Libel, Privacy, and Freedom of Expression

Eric Barendt

in The Judicial House of Lords 1876–2009

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199532711
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191705489 | DOI:
 Libel, Privacy, and Freedom of Expression

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In comparison with its rich libel jurisprudence, the House has given relatively few rulings on the protection of personal privacy. Only five years ago it refused to recognise a common law privacy tort, holding in Wainwright v Home Office that it would be inappropriate for the courts to formulate a broad right of uncertain scope. But the law of confidentiality has been developed to protect personal (and official) information against disclosure by the media. This chapter discusses this topic and then looks at contempt of court and the open justice principle, where the House of Lords has been inconsistent in the weight it attaches to freedom of speech and of the press.

Keywords: House of Lords; English law; libel law; confidentiality; privacy; contempt of court

Chapter.  8473 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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