The courts are not even in session yet but Matrix Chambers’ Hugh Tomlinson QC is already back in the headlines.
This time the Gag Man has been representing Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand in a breach of privacy claim against the Sunday Mirror. And he’s failed (see story).
Ferdinand launched the claim against the tabloid (advised by RPC and Doughty Street’s Gavin Millar QC) in April after it published an interview with interior designer Carly Storey, who had a 13-year relationship with the footballer.
Storey got £16,000 for her tale, which doesn’t seem like a lot given the vast payments made in similar situations. Then again, given what Ferdinand was allegedly filmed doing in Ayia Napa in 2000, perhaps the shock value of a simple affair wasn’t enough to drive the price up.
Mr Justice Nicol once again had to referee Article 8 of the ECHR, which demands respect for people’s private lives, and Article 10, which defends freedom of expression.
The Ferdinand decision looks like it’s against the run of play, given the ability of some of his club-mates to claim privacy, but as John Terry might have advised his England comrades, footballers don’t always win.