Collyer Bristow takes Mosley privacy case to ECHR Grand Chamber

Former International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley has instructed Collyer Bristow to take his fight against the domestic press to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights.

Max Mosley
Max Mosley

It comes just weeks after the ECHR threw out Mosley’s bid to force newspapers to inform subjects prior to publication if details of their private lives are going to revealed (10 May 2011).

In its ruling the ECHR endorsed the domestic court’s approach to Article 8 of the Human Rights Conventions, the need to balance the right to privacy with the right to freedom of expression.

Submissions made to the court by Blackstone Chambers’ David Pannick QC for Mosley argued that the Grand Chamber should reverse the ECHR ruling because it fails to provide effective remedies for people whose privacy has been infringed.

It states: “The newspaper in this case (and in many others) conceals its intention to publish because it wishes to prevent the applicant from seeking and obtaining an injunction.

“The newspaper knows that, once the information is published, very few victims will sue for damages, because that will guarantee further adverse publicity and very considerable expense, even if the proceedings should succeed.”

It is argued that if notification is required only for stories of a sexual nature political reporting and investigative journalism need not be subjected to the same rules.

The submission continues: “Before privacy is permanently and seriously damaged by disclosure of intimate or sexual details of private life, an effective remedy for the purposes of Article 8 requires that the subject of the disclosure should have an opportunity to ask a judge to rule on whether an interim injunction should be granted to restrain publication.”

Last month the Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger said newspapers should be informed of anonymity order applications before they are heard in court (20 May 2011).