Rio Ferdinand privacy trial begins

Nicol J to determine claim against the Sunday Mirror

The trial of  Rio Ferdinand’s privacy claim against the Sunday Mirror commenced 4 July 2011.  The England and Manchester United footballer has brought a claim against MGN Limited over an article published in April 2010 about his relationship with another woman. The case is to heard by Mr Justice Nicol.

Rio Ferdinand brings the action in both misuse of private information and breach of confidence.  The newspaper is running a public interest defence based on false image, hypocrisy and that there was a debate of general interest about the role of the England Captain at the time of publication.

The week prior to trial, Mr Justice Eady rejected the Claimant’s specific disclosure application for documents relating to the Sunday Mirror’s journalistic and editorial process. He held that such documents were not relevant to the claim and that whether a publication was in the public interest was a matter which ought to be judged by the court ‘objectively’.  He stated “it would not be relevant to go into private views within the media organisation that may have been exchanged prior to the decision to publish”.  

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