• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Law
  • Word count: 5981

Is there a tort of invasion of privacy?

Extracts from this document...


CONFIDENCEAND PRIVACY (1) Is there a tort of invasion of privacy? It has often been said that the English law does not recognise a right to privacy 'as such'.1 It has been widely agreed that privacy rights might find incidental protection by causes of action designed to protect other interests, but there is no distinct cause of action for 'invasion of privacy'.2 This point was graphically illustrated in the case of Kaye v Robertson.3 This case involved a well known actor who had undergone extensive surgery and was in hospital when he was photographed and allegedly interviewed by a tabloid newspaper. The journalist and the photographer for the newspaper ignored notices asking visitors to ask permission from a member of staff before visiting patients. The claimant relied on causes of action in libel, trespass to the person, passing-off and malicious falsehood. It was accepted by the claimant's lawyers that his rights could not be protected by an action for breach of privacy. This case is frequently cited in support of the proposition that the English law does not recognise a tort of privacy;4 however it has also been pointed out5 that the action was not brought in confidence, and no cases derived from the law of confidence were cited in court.6 Although the Court of appeal refused his application, it noted that the case: "...highlighted, yet again, the failure of both the common law and of statute to protect in an effective way the personal privacy of individual citizens."7 The protection of privacy was also referred to in the case of R v Khan8. This case involved the admissibility of evidence secured through the use of concealed police surveillance equipment in relation to the defendant's suspected heroin importation, the House of Lords noted that the Article 8 (ECHR) right to privacy would only be of relevance in order to assist the construction of the law in a case of ambiguity or doubt. ...read more.


physical intrusion; (b) publication of hurtful or embarrassing personal material (whether true or false); (c) publication of inaccurate or misleading personal material; and (d) publication of photographs or recordings of the individual taken without consent." Finally, in July 1993, the Lord Chancellor issued a consultation paper proposing a new civil wrong in the following terms: "A natural person shall have a cause of action in tort, in respect of conduct which constitutes an infringement of his privacy, causing him substantial distress, provided that such distress would have also have been suffered by a person of ordinary sensibilities in the circumstances of the complainant."48 On the other hand, the former chairman of the Press Complaints commission, Lord Wakeham, consistently argued that a law protecting privacy would be counter-productive, protecting only the rich, while limiting public interest investigations (see Appendix 2). (5) Defining the new tort It seems like the best way of defining the elements of the new tort would be to use the process highlighted in the American and New Zealand case law. This would be a method which develops breach of confidence but breaks free from its constraints and reflects generally held views as to the limits of the word "private". One feasible way of doing this is by defining the tort of invasion of privacy on the basis of three elements. Therefore, in order to establish an invasion of privacy, there must be: (1) an intrusion; (2) into a person's life; (3) which is highly offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities.49 The first element ('intrusion') may take two forms.50 Firstly, it could include the observation, recording or surveillance by the defendant of the claimant. This would include matters such as photography, films and tape recording but would also include visual or aural observation. Secondly it could include the publication of information about the claimant, such as, factual information (whether true or false), photographs, films or recordings (whether actually or purportedly recording the claimant). ...read more.


The privacy codes of the ITC54 and BSC54 make specific provisions in relation to matters such as: filming in public and semi-public places; filming police operations; filming in circumstances of distress; revisiting past events; secret filming and the use of children in programmes. All these are areas which could potentially be the subject of protection by a tort of invasion of privacy. CONCLUSION The adjudication of regulators, whether published or broadcast, has limited effect. Since regulators seek to avoid repeating the offending material, the adjudication tends to be enigmatic. In addition, some adjudications are anonymous, and this means that they often have limited value in providing either vindication for the complainant or future guidance for the media. Some BSC and ITC decisions must be broadcast, and all adverse PCC decisions must be published. Thus, broadcasters tend to take more steps towards avoiding invasions of privacy than the printed press (i.e. newspapers and most magazines). In practice, the lack of any other remedies, such as fines or awards of compensation, means that invasion of privacy will occur in all forms of the media. In general there is no restraint or monitoring. On the other hand, the public's 'right to know' should not be blocked, as Lord Woolf said: "the courts must not ignore the fact that if newspapers do not publish information which the public are interested in, there will be fewer newspapers published, which will not be in the public interest".54 On the whole, privacy is protected to a certain extent by regulators, their powers are limited and the ability to challenge their decisions, up to now, has also been very limited. It remains to be seen whether applications under the Human Rights Act or the regulation under OFCOM will improve this position. The major flaw in the regulatory system, as regards to the protection of privacy, is that the regulators have no power to stop broadcast or publication. The only remedy is adjudication, by which time the information has already been published and the damage done. Therefore there is clearly a lot of room for improvement. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Law - Resulting trusts

    4 star(s)

    stated that it was quite clear that Mrs. Standing had well considered what she was doing and it was held that the transfer was originally made with the deliberate intention of benefiting the Defendant, and not with a view to the creation of a trust.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    The Police and Criminal Evidence Acts 1984-provides an effective balance between the powers of ...

    3 star(s)

    by someone who is not involved with the case and would have no bias opinions. The officer must give good reason for the need for this warrant before it can be issued. The officer must also be under oath and state the reason for the warrant and its details.

  1. Criminal Law (Offences against the person) - revision notes

    R v Cocker (1989) - Terminally ill wife who repeatedly over a period of time asks him to kill her. Eventually he does due to her nagging. Cocker tried to claim the defence of provocation but judge rejects it saying it 'wasn't a sudden loss of self control' Jury say

  2. Study the concept of Reasonable man and reasonability in tort law.

    To illustrate this Aristotle defines a key term of his moral philosophy by reference to what the reasonable man would decide, it ho_i an ho phronimos horiseien1 The Laws of England place great weight on the Reasonable Man. They will not, and sometimes will say it is because they cannot,

  1. Does Hart's theory differ to the 'gunman writ large' situation?

    The practice theory i.e. Hart's characterisation of the internal aspect of law, fails to capture the normative nature of laws generally. If rules are practices, i.e. because others conform to the rule and criticise deviation from it, they will only rarely be a reason for action.

  2. Metafiktion er betegnelsen for den type af sknlitteratur, film og drama, som gr opmrksom ...

    V�rkmeta - en metafiktiv form, der repr�senteres ved at give det litter�re v�rk dets v�rkkarakter. Intermeta - en metafiktiv form, der repr�senteres ved forholdet til intertekstualitet, interart og intermedia. Det er ikke al metafiktion der med mening kan betegnes som intertekstualitet og det er ikke al intertekstualitet der markerer en metafiktiv grad.

  1. Discuss the persuasive techniques used by Michael Moore in three scenes from his film ...

    However it is emotive in that statistics are always perceived to be true. Even the statistics are used as a persuasive technique as they claim the casualties are civilians is more emotive as it connects with the audience it aligns with Moore's message that America is ruthless in international conflicts.

  2. In order to analyse the differing approaches, concerning formalities and incompletely constituted trusts within ...

    consent from the external body16, it was therefore held to be incomplete. Comparing this to Re Rose17, where Rose had done everything in his power to transfer the legal and equitable interest but the factors which delayed the registration of the legal title were beyond his control.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work