OK! wins Douglas appeal

House of Lords find Hello! liable for breach of confidence

The House of Lords has today ruled, by a 3-2 majority, that Hello! magazine’s publication of unauthorised photographs of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ wedding was in breach of confidence.


OK! magazine had entered into an exclusive deal for photographs of the wedding, and guests were prevented from prohibited from bringing cameras into the reception. Hello! nevertheless managed to purchase a number of surreptitiously obtained photographs and published them as a ‘spoiler’.


A majority of the House of Lords held that photographic information relating to the wedding was confidential, and that Hello!‘s publication of the images breached an obligation of confidence which OK! were entitled to enforce. Damages had been assessed by Lindsay J at over £1M.


Their Lordships also dealt with OK!‘s appeal in respect of the economic tort of causing loss by unlawful means (which was dismissed) and two other appeals relating to economic torts.


5RB‘s James Price QC (instructed by M Law) was lead counsel for Hello! Ltd.