New senior media judge to play important role in balancing of rights

15 September 2010 by

Eady to go

The Lord Chief Justice has announced the appointment of Mr Justice Tugendhat as Judge in charge of the Jury and Non-Jury Lists with effect from 1 October 2010. This makes him the senior ‘media judge’ in England and Wales, and he will play an important role in balancing rights to privacy against freedom of expression.

The Jury and Non-Jury lists contains general civil law, including defamation and privacy. The Judge in charge has responsibility for managing the work in the lists and assigning judges to cases.

Mr Justice Tugendhat succeeds Mr Justice Eady, who has presided over many of the important libel and defamation cases in the past decade. Mr Justice Eady’s decisions have often been controversial, and he has sometimes been accused of introducing a judge-made privacy law. Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre was a notable critic, accusing Mr Justice Eady in 2008 of “arrogant and amoral judgments” and arguing that “[t]he freedom of the press is far too important to be left to the somewhat desiccated values of a single judge who clearly has an animus against the popular press and the right of people to freedom of expression”

Any student of human rights will know that it was not Mr Justice Eady who invented privacy law. Rather, the Human Rights Act 1998 explicitly provides a right to privacy under Article 8. That right is qualified, which means it can be breached in certain scenarios, such as in instances where it is trumped by freedom of expression rights under Article 10. The senior media judge will inevitably have an impact on how this delicate balance operates in practice. And judges who set the balance in favour of privacy over free expression runs the risk of being criticised in the press, which understandably has its own vested interest in supporting freedom of expression.

Mr Justice (Sir Michael George) Tugendhat was called to the Bar in 1972. He was appointed a Recorder in 1994 and a QC in 1986. In 2003 he was appointed a High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division. He is a well-known and respected media law expert, and presided over the controversial John Terry ‘super-injunction’ case. Inforrm’s Blog has posted a profile, including a section on human rights cases he has presided over:

As a judge, he has on a number of occasions given careful consideration to the interaction between privacy, human rights and libel.  In particular, in W v Westminster([2005] EWHC 102 (QB)) and Clift v Slough BC [2009] EWHC 1550 (QB)) he provided remedies to claimants against public authorities in circumstances where the application of conventional libel principles might have appeared to lead to their refusal.

Read more:

Sign up to free human rights updates by email, Facebook, Twitter or RSS

Welcome to the UKHRB

This blog is run by 1 Crown Office Row barristers' chambers. Subscribe for free updates here. The blog's editorial team is:
Commissioning Editor: Jonathan Metzer
Editorial Team: Rosalind English
Angus McCullough QC David Hart QC
Martin Downs
Jim Duffy

Free email updates

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog for free and receive weekly notifications of new posts by email.




This blog is maintained for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of legal advice and must not be relied upon as such. Blog posts reflect the views and opinions of their individual authors, not of chambers as a whole.

Our privacy policy can be found on our ‘subscribe’ page or by clicking here.


Aarhus Abortion Abu Qatada Abuse Access to justice adoption ALBA Al Qaeda animal rights anonymity Article 1 Protocol 1 Article 2 article 3 Article 4 article 5 Article 6 Article 8 Article 9 article 10 Article 11 article 13 Article 14 Artificial Intelligence Asbestos assisted suicide asylum Australia autism benefits Bill of Rights biotechnology blogging Bloody Sunday brexit Bribery Catholicism Chagos Islanders Children children's rights China christianity citizenship civil liberties campaigners climate change clinical negligence Coercion common law confidentiality consent conservation constitution contempt of court Control orders Copyright coronavirus costs Court of Protection crime Cybersecurity Damages data protection death penalty defamation deportation deprivation of liberty Detention disability disclosure Discrimination disease divorce DNA domestic violence duty of care ECHR ECtHR Education election Employment Environment Equality Act Ethiopia EU EU Charter of Fundamental Rights EU costs EU law European Court of Justice evidence extradition extraordinary rendition Family Fertility FGM Finance foreign criminals foreign office France freedom of assembly Freedom of Expression freedom of information freedom of speech Gay marriage Gaza genetics Germany Google Grenfell Health HIV home office Housing HRLA human rights Human Rights Act human rights news Huntington's Disease immigration India Indonesia injunction Inquests international law internet Inuit Iran Iraq Ireland Islam Israel Italy IVF Japan Judaism judicial review jury trial JUSTICE Justice and Security Bill Law Pod UK legal aid Leveson Inquiry LGBTQ Rights liability Libel Liberty Libya Lithuania local authorities marriage mental capacity Mental Health military Ministry of Justice modern slavery music Muslim nationality national security NHS Northern Ireland nuclear challenges Obituary ouster clauses parental rights parliamentary expenses scandal patents Pensions Personal Injury Piracy Plagiarism planning Poland Police Politics pollution press Prisoners Prisons privacy Professional Discipline Property proportionality Protection of Freedoms Bill Protest Public/Private public access public authorities public inquiries rehabilitation Reith Lectures Religion RightsInfo right to die right to family life Right to Privacy right to swim riots Roma Romania Round Up Royals Russia Saudi Arabia Scotland secrecy secret justice sexual offence Sikhism Smoking social media South Africa Spain special advocates Sports Standing statelessness stop and search Strasbourg Supreme Court Supreme Court of Canada surrogacy surveillance Syria Tax technology Terrorism tort Torture travel treaty TTIP Turkey UK Ukraine USA US Supreme Court vicarious liability Wales War Crimes Wars Welfare Western Sahara Whistleblowing Wikileaks wind farms WomenInLaw YearInReview Zimbabwe
%d bloggers like this: