Misuse of Private Information in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • White v Withers LLP
    • Queen's Bench Division
    • 19 Nov 2008

    Moreover, there has come to be recognised in domestic law, over the last four years or so, by way of an extension to the existing equitable principles governing breach of confidence, a right of protection against the “misuse of private information”: see e.g. Campbell v MGN Ltd [2004] AC 457 and McKennitt v Ash [2008] QB 73. The cases in which these new principles have so far been applied have been primarily concerned with the wrongful communication of information, in respect of which the claimant had a reasonable expectation of privacy, to a third party or to the world at large.

  • Matthew Cooper and Another v Mark Turrell
    • Queen's Bench Division
    • 12 Dec 2011

    I shall award £50,000 to Mr Cooper as damages for libel and an additional £30,000 for damages for misuse of private information. Since damages for libel include compensation for distress, I must avoid double counting. If I had been awarding damages for misuse of private information alone, I would have awarded £40,000 for that.

  • Campbell v MGN Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 06 May 2004

    Now the law imposes a 'duty of confidence' whenever a person receives information he knows or ought to know is fairly and reasonably to be regarded as confidential. The continuing use of the phrase 'duty of confidence' and the description of the information as 'confidential' is not altogether comfortable. Information about an individual's private life would not, in ordinary usage, be called 'confidential'. The essence of the tort is better encapsulated now as misuse of private information.

    Accordingly, in deciding what was the ambit of an individual's 'private life' in particular circumstances courts need to be on guard against using as a touchstone a test which brings into account considerations which should more properly be considered at the later stage of proportionality. Essentially the touchstone of private life is whether in respect of the disclosed facts the person in question had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

  • Murray v Big Pictures (UK) Ltd
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 07 May 2008

    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.

  • Imerman v Tchenguiz and Others
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 29 Jul 2010

    The domestic law of confidence was extended again by the House of Lords in Campbell v MGN Ltd [2004] UKHL 21, [2004] 2 AC 457, effectively to incorporate the right to respect for private life in article 8 of the Convention, although its extension from the commercial sector to the private sector had already been presaged by decisions such as Argyll v Argyll and Hellewell v Chief Constable of Derbyshire [1995] 1 WLR 804.

    It is of the essence of the claimant's right to confidentiality that he can choose whether, and, if so, to whom and in what circumstances and on what terms, to reveal the information which has the protection of the confidence.

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Legislation
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Book Review: Criminal Women
    • Nbr. 19-2, June 1986
    • Journal of Criminology (formerly Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology)
    ...... Employing "private pain to inform a public issue" (p 181), ... intrusiveness of the regime; the misuse of private information; the denial of ......
  • Book Review: Violence and Crime in Cross National Perspective
    • Nbr. 19-2, June 1986
    • Journal of Criminology (formerly Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology)
    ...... Employing "private pain to inform a public issue" (p 181), ... intrusiveness of the regime; the misuse of private information; the denial of ......
  • A Behavioural Understanding of Privacy and its Implications for Privacy Law
    • Nbr. 75-5, September 2012
    • The Modern Law Review
    This article draws upon social interaction theory (the work of Irwin Altman) to develop a theory of the right to privacy, which reflects the way that privacy is experienced. This theory states that...
    ...... on Human Rights (ECHR) and the law of misuse of private information; the concept of waiver; ......
  • The Rule in Wilkinson v Downton: Conduct, Intention, and Justifiability
    • Nbr. 78-2, March 2015
    • The Modern Law Review
    The decision in OPO v MLA [2014] EWCA Civ 1277 causes confusion to the rule in Wilkinson v Downton. A strong line of authorities indicates that the defendant must either have an actual intention to...
    ...... OPO from any such detriment-causing information. 15 Fourthly, OPO was ‘computer savvy’, and ... no cause of action based on the tort of misuse of private information on the basis that the ......
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Law Firm Commentaries

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