Landmark GDPR appeal allowed in Soriano v Forensic News LLC & ors

The Claimant’s GDPR cross-appeal is allowed and the Defendants’ libel appeal is dismissed by the Court of Appeal

In the first appellate decision on the territorial reach of the GDPR, the Court of Appeal has unanimously allowed the Claimant’s cross-appeal to serve out his data protection claim against the defendant news organisation and journalists. All of the defendants are established or live in the United States of America. The judgment will have far-reaching implications for all US media corporations.

Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Lady Justice Elisabeth Laing and Lord Justice Warby found that if a media company has even minimal commercial activity in the UK (such as offering subscriptions) this arguably amounts to an “establishment” and they may be subject to the GDPR regime. It was also found that there was a sufficient case under Articles 3(2)(a) and (b) of the GDPR that the Defendants’ website offered a ‘service’ to UK/EU readers that was ‘related to’ the journalistic processing of data, and the assembly, analysis and sorting of the Claimant’s personal data arguably constituted ‘monitoring’.

The Defendants’ appeal against permission to serve out the Claimant’s libel claim was dismissed. This judgment is now also the definitive authority on section 9 of the Defamation Act 2019.

The 5RB case report is available here.

Greg Callus and Ben Hamer of 5RB acted for the Claimant (instructed by Rechtschaffen Law).