Pressing concerns

Pressing concerns
11 November 2008
The Daily Mail has caused a storm.
And its editor-in-chief Paul Dacre has sparked a flurry of hot-blooded comments on TheLawyer.com after he poured scorn on leading privacy judge Mr Justice Eady.


The Daily Mail has caused a storm.

And its editor-in-chief Paul Dacre has sparked a flurry of hot-blooded comments on TheLawyer.com after he poured scorn on leading privacy judge Mr Justice Eady (see story).

Not many of you have been sympathetic to the Mail’s male. “Every time press insiders make a haughty and moral speech you know you are in for a laugh,” posted one reader.

Even Loreena McKennitt, the Canadian singer at the centre of Eady J’s key privacy judgment in McKennitt v Ash, has weighed in with her tuppence ha’penny.

“As the ‘Canadian folk singer’ mentioned in Mr Dacre’s speech I would offer the following observations,” she writes.

“It is worrisome that the commercial media would embark upon such a proactive attack with the intentions to chill those serving in our justice systems without having done more responsible homework.”

The Mail is getting slaughtered out there. If you want to join in, feel free.

Mail shot
10 November 2008

Editors v the judiciary, round 137.

Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre doesn’t like Mr Justice Eady very much.

OK, so the Mail doesn’t like anything that much, but Dacre’s speech at the Society of Editors annual conference was extreme, slamming Eady’s judgments as “arrogant and amoral” (see story).

According to Dacre, Eady’s stance has ushered in a privacy law through the back door. Plenty of lawyers agree that Eady has been highly influential in shaping the law.

After all, he was the first judge to rule on two of the earliest cases in the field – McKennitt v Ash and – yes, you’ve guessed it – Lord Browne v Associated Newspapers.

But as we report today, not everyone in the media takes Dacre’s view that this is a bad thing.

The Guardian News & Media director of editorial legal services, Nuala Cosgrove, makes the point that “a privacy law built up through judicial precedence is preferable to one legislated for by MPs whose self interest might outweigh public interest and freedom of expression”.

So: privacy or freedom of expression? Have your say here.