Some quite unusual law being made in Mr. Justice Eady’s court last week
Since the case is known as CC v. AB, we can’t speculate who’s involved, but it involves a high-profile sports figure who had an affair with another man’s wife. To everyone’s amazement the adulterer has won a court order banning the betrayed husband from naming him to the press. After a hearing on CC‘s plea for an injunction against AB talking publicly about the matter, the judge ruled that even a public figure engaged in an adulterous affair had a ‘right to privacy” under the European Convention on Human Rights
The judge was asked to accept “the striking proposition that a spouse whose partner has committed adultery owes a duty of confidence to the third party adulterer to keep quiet about it”.
Reynolds Porter Chamberlain defamation and IP partner David Hooper said: “It is a very surprising decision that will probably result in more litigation. It seems to me a serious error of judgment and the balance between privacy and freedom of speech was wrong. We are simply moving towards the draconian French law of privacy.”
He added: “If the celebrity was so worried about his children he should have kept his trousers on.”
The former editor of The Times notes the irony:
Now, privacy is being extended in British law, at the very time that the internet is making it impossible to protect. Any blogger who wants to put CC’s name on the internet could do so with virtual impunity. And some bloggers may have done that already.
It would be absurd for our courts to extend the protection of privacy at the very point when the internet is making it impossible to protect.