EMLR editor change

HHJ Richard Parkes QC and Godwin Busuttil step down

5RB‘s Godwin Busuttil and former member of chambers HHJ Richard Parkes QC have retired as editors of the Entertainment and Media Law Reports. Issue 3 of 2022 will be their last.

They will be succeeded by Dr Maria Mercedes Frabboni and Tatiana-Lynn Makhoul. Dr Frabboni is a lecturer in law at the University of Sussex with a special interest in copyright and cultural policies while Ms Makhoul is a PhD candidate studying blockchain and copyright law at Birkbeck, University of London.

Richard and Godwin took over the editorship of the EMLR in February 2009. The first case they reported was Adelson v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2009] EMLR 10. This was a February 2008 judgment in a libel action considering an application argued by one Mark Warby QC that the proceedings should be stayed or struck out unless the claimant accepted defendant’s open offer of settlement. This included an offer to make a statement in open court albeit that defendant’s defence of justification (truth) had not been withdrawn. The defendant contended that the offer could not be bettered at trial. Mr Justice Tugendhat rejected the application. In doing so he memorably observed: “…the judge will not give permission for a Statement in Open Court to be read if, before the Statement is read, he is informed by one of the parties that that party is proposing to join in the making of a statement which he believes to be false. It is one thing for the court to be unable to guarantee that all its judgments or verdicts are the whole truth. It is quite another for the court to permit itself to be used for the making of a statement that the maker is at the same time declaring he believes to be untrue…The court expects an apology to be frank. It does not expect a claimant to accept an apology which is not full and frank, and which the defendant does not believe in. The court does not accept that a false apology gives vindication which is as good as that given by a true apology”.

Their last will be the Court of Appeal’s December 2021 judgment in Soriano v Forensic News LLC [2021] EWCA Civ 1952 which will be reported as [2022] EMLR 12. In that case, a panel consisting of Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Lady Justice Elisabeth Laing and Lord Justice Warby dismissed the defendants’ appeal from a decision permitting the claimant to serve libel proceedings on them out of the jurisdiction in the United States (despite the prohibitive terms of s.9 of the Defamation Act 2013) and allowed a cross-appeal from the first instance court’s decision to refuse the claimant permission to serve his data protection claim on the defendants out of the jurisdiction. Lord Justice Warby’s judgment decides authoritatively, among other things, that the effect of s.9 of the 2013 Act is not to create a distinct parallel regime from that which governs personal jurisdiction so as to form a jurisdictional bar concerned with the subject matter of the suit (overruling Al Sadik v Sadik [2020] EMLR 7 to the extent it held to the contrary). The successful claimant was represented on the appeal and at first instance by 5RB‘s Greg Callus and Ben Hamer.

In the intervening 13 years, Richard and Godwin wrote up another 369 judgments and practice notes in the media and communications law sphere, many of which are not reported elsewhere.

Godwin and Richard remain the General Editors of Gatley on Libel and Slander, the 13th edition of which is due to be published in May 2022.

They take this opportunity to wish Dr Frabboni and Ms Makhoul all the best for their editorship of the EMLR.