Kaye v Robertson & Sport Newspapers Ltd

Reference: [1991] FSR 62; The Times 21 March 1990

Court: Court of Appeal

Judge: Glidewell, Bingham and Leggatt LJJ

Date of judgment: 16 Mar 1990

Summary: Privacy - Malicious falsehood - Trespass - Whether cause of action available to the plaintiff - Photographs - Injunctions

Appearances: Patrick Milmo QC - Leading Counsel (Defendant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Wright Webb Syrett for the Plaintiff; Kaye Tesler & Co for the Defendant

Facts

The plaintiff was a well known actor recovering in hospital from a serious injury. Two journalists gained access to his private room, took photographs and conducted an interview. They threatened to publish the interview, and P sought an injunction.

Issue

Whether P had a cause of action which would enable the Court to grant an injunction

Held

Any article which conveyed the meaning that the plaintiff had given informed consent to the interview would amount to malicious falsehood. There was no actionable right of privacy in English law.

Comment

The statement of the Court of Appeal that there was no common law protection of privacy stultified the development of privacy law for many years. The position changed following the incorporation of the Human Rights Act but the House of Lords recently re-affirmed that there was no general law of privacy under the common law in Wainwright v Home Office.