Mosley Privacy Case

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On 29th September 2008, Steeles Law LLP (Solicitors) have filed an application to take Mosley’s case to the European Court of Human Rights under ECHR Article 8 (the Right to Privacy) seeking to ensure that journalists have a legal obligation to contact the people they write about, prior to publishing any story about them. Indeed, the basis of Max Mosley v. UK is best summarised by Dominic Crossley (Steeles Law LLP) stating: “…although we all have a right to privacy, it is entirely up to the editor of a newspaper whether or not we are able to exercise that right in any effective or meaningful way. The editor of a newspaper…can take a decision to publish material which may ruin a life or destroy a family, safe in the knowledge that even if publication is later held to be unlawful, there will be no significant consequences for him”


Mosley had earlier won £60,000 in an action for damages against the News of the World in the High Court, after the paper falsely alleged that Mosley had taken part in a ‘Nazi theme’ orgy on the 28th March that year (Max Mosley v. News Group Newspapers [2008] EWHC 1777 (QB)).

Mr Justice Eady held that Mosley had had ‘a reasonable expectation of privacy’ under the equitable remedy of breach of confidence. While the paper justified the scoop on the basis that “the Claimant had for entertainment and sexual gratification been “mocking the humiliating way the Jews were treated”, or “parodying Holocaust horrors”, there could be a public interest in that being revealed at least to those in the FIA to whom he is accountable”.” These charges were not made out, (or indeed investigated thoroughly by the paper) and therefore there was no public interest in either the disclosure of the orgy, or of the secret filming [171].

Although Mosley only sued for Privacy rather than libel in the UK courts, he defends this reasoning as it produced a quicker court appearance, and he reserves the right to launch a defamation action depending on how the charges fare on the continent. Defamation and indeed criminal proceedings are currently being conducted against News of the World in France and Germany.

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About Kris

Associate Professor in Sports Law, Staffordshire University; British Gymnastics Senior Coach

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