Pushchair privacy case goes to appeal

J.K. Rowling's son seeks to overturn High Court judgment on photograph

The privacy row involving photographs of Harry Potter author, J. K. Rowling’s son, goes to the Court of Appeal today.


In August 2007 Mr Justice Patten, in the Chancery Division, granted a strike out application by Big Pictures (UK) Ltd, a photographic agency that specialises in photographs of celebrities, on a claim brought against it by David Murray, the 4 year-old son of Ms Rowling.


The claim, which alleged misuse of private information and breach of the Data Protection Act 1998, centred on a photograph of David, which was taken when he was a 1 year-old, being pushed down a street in Edinburgh by his parents in his pushchair at a time when his mother was pregnant with David’s younger sister.


Big Pictures argued successfully that David’s case disclosed no cause of action known to English law, but lawyers for the child will this week seek to persuade Sir Anthony Clarke MR and Laws and Thomas LJJ, sitting in the Court of Appeal, otherwise. Arguments on the appeal will address the question of whether, and if so the extent to which, the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in von Hannover v Germany expands the scope of protection for personal privacy beyond that delineated by the House of Lords in Campbell v MGN Ltd.


5RB‘s Godwin Busuttil is junior counsel for the Appellant, David Murray, while Big Pictures are represented by 5RB‘s Mark Warby QC and Jonathan Barnes.