Key Rio Ferdinand privacy decision expected October

Nicol J expected to hand down judgment next legal term

The trial of  Rio Ferdinand’s privacy claim against the Sunday Mirror took place on 4 – 6 July 2011.  The England and Manchester United footballer brought a claim against MGN Limited over an article published in April 2010 about his relationship with another woman, Carly Storey.  

The footballer brought a claim in misuse of private information and breach of confidence.  The Sunday Mirror ran a public interest defence based on false image, hypocrisy, Ms Storey’s Article 10 right to tell her story and that there was a heated public debate about the role of England captain at the time of publication.

In February 2010, John Terry had been stripped of his role as captain following allegations of an extra-marital affair with Veronica Perroncel, the ex-girlfriend of team-mate Wayne Bridge, and had been replaced by the claimant.   The article complained of alleged that the claimant had been having an affair with Ms Storey until he dumped her after being made England Captain, out of fear of being exposed like John Terry.

Mr Justice Nicol indicated that a reserved judgment would be handed down as soon as practicable. The decision will be of great interest to media lawyers because it is the first privacy trial in England and Wales to focus specifically on the publication of what was traditionally known as ‘kiss and tell’ material and the public interest in its publication. Other media privacy cases which have reached trial were concerned with other privacy issues such as therapeutic treatment, intrusive biography and sexual activity for payment. On this occasion the courts will have to analyse the publication of information which has been at the centre of the popular press’ business for a century or more.


5RB‘s Yuli Takatsuki acted as Junior Counsel for MGN Limited (instructed by Reynolds Porter Chamberlain)