Keith Mathieson, partner, RPC

Regularly instructed by the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, The Sun for libel and privacy matters.

Keith Mathieson
Keith Mathieson

This Inquiry was set up to look into what went wrong at the News of the World and to see if poor practices at that title existed elsewhere.

Sadly, the terms of reference didn’t say that, providing instead for an inquiry into the “culture, practices and ethics of the press”.

It is doubtful if such an inquiry was ever feasible. I certainly question whether the evidence gathered by the Inquiry has produced any proper basis for meaningful recommendations for the future. 

The one certainty, nonetheless, is that recommendations will be made.

Leveson LJ recognises the importance of editorial freedom, but he does seem to favour a regulatory scheme with some form of statutory back-up.  That would in my opinion be a mistake and I believe that view is shared by many influential figures in Parliament. 

The Inquiry does not appear to have fully grasped what the law of privacy amounts to despite the importance it has attached to the evidence from Hugh Grant and others.  Its instincts seem to be for greater rights of privacy, but there is little or nothing it can do, bearing in mind that our Convention obligations demand that privacy rights are balanced against rights of free speech.