Mosley’s privacy bid thrown out by European court

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected a bid by former Formula 1 boss Max Mosley to force newspapers to inform subjects prior to publication if details of their private lives are going to revealed.


Max Mosley
Max Mosley

Mosley instructed Collyer Bristow partner Dominic Crossley to represent him in his legal battle against the UK Government at the European Court in October 2008 (13 October 2008).

Crossley also represented Mosley in his breach of privacy claim against News International in 2008. Mr Justice Eady awarded Mosley £60,000 damages “for the injury to feelings, the embarrassment and distress caused” by pictures published in the newspaper that portrayed him participating in consensual sadomasochistic sex sessions (24 July 2008).

Crossley instructed Blackstone Chambers’ David Pannick QC and David Sherborne of 5RB to represent Mosley.

David Pannick QC
David Pannick QC

The Treasury Solicitor instructed the first treasury counsel James Eadie QC of Blackstone Chambers to represent the Government.

Today’s ruling marks the end of Mosley’s battle to put a legal requirement on all journalists to inform people that they are the subjects of stories ahead of publication.

The ECHR said that the European Convention on Human Rights did not require newspapers to give prior notice of publication.

It stated: “The limited scope under Article 10 for restrictions on the freedom of the press to publish material which contributes to debate on matters of general public interest must be borne in mind.

“Thus, having regard to the chilling effect to which a pre-notification requirement risks giving rise, to the significant doubts as to the effectiveness of any pre-notification requirement and to the wide margin of appreciation in this area, the court is of the view that Article 8 does not require a legally binding pre-notification requirement.”