Speedy trial for Sienna Miller

Trial of actress' harassment and privacy claim against Big Pictures to be expedited

Sienna Miller, the well-known British actress, has been granted a speedy trial of her action against paparazzi agency, Big Pictures (UK) Ltd, and its owner and alter ego, Darryn Lyons.


Ms Miller claims injunctive relief and damages for what she contends has been a campaign of harassment since June 2008. The course of conduct of which she complains involves the defendants’ photographers (or agents acting on their behalf) in their pursuit of her, employing what she alleges are reckless or dangerous methods (such as driving at high speed and through red lights) or engaging in behaviour said to be calculated to be intimidating or abusive.


In particular, the actress complains about a number of specific incidents both in this jurisdiction and abroad, the latter of which are relied on as evidencing the distress which Ms Miller is being caused by this campaign, as well as aggravating the damage caused to her and reinforcing the need for an injunction. Ms Miller claims that the effect of this upon her has been substantial, seriously frightening her and causing her huge distress and anxiety.


The action also involves a claim for invasion of privacy in relation to a number of photographs taken by the defendants and published on their websites or sold to the media. Some of these photographs were taken of, or as a result of, the incidents complained of as forming part of the campaign of harassment, at a time when she says she was in distress.


In the hearing before Mr Justice Eady on Thursday, 30 October 2008, the Court accepted that the action, the first bid by a celebrity to use the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 against the paparazzi, should be heard as soon as possible, and that it was important for there to be an early determination of whether the defendants’ conduct, complained of by her Counsel, David Sherborne, as “a gross and intolerable violation of her rights”, was lawful.


5RB‘s David Sherborne (instructed by Carter-Ruck) acts for Ms Miller.