Max Mosley, John Terry and Naomi Campbell are just some of the high profile names we all associate with privacy and the law. Although there is a high level of media commentary on the matter, there is no express right to privacy under English law. There are, however, a number of ways to confer a right of privacy in the UK.

The Human Rights Act 1998
This incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. Article 8 provides “the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and correspondence”. This is however restricted in certain situations, such as for the prevention of crime, where it is necessary in the interests of national security and safety, where the law allows it and for the protection of the rights and freedom of others. Further, this right should be balanced against article 10 of the Convention which provides the right to freedom of expression.

Misuse of Private Information
In Campbell v Mirror Group Newspapers, the courts established the test here should be whether or not there is a “reasonable expectation of privacy”. In Naomi Campbell’s case, a report and images were published in relation to her alleged drug addiction. The House of Lords decided that here, the supermodel had met this criteria. To succeed on this basis there does not have to be any pre-existing relationship of confidence between the parties.

Breach of Confidence
To succeed on a claim for breach of confidence arising out of a disclosure of private information, it must be established that the defendant disclosed private information in breach of a clear duty of confidence, or a duty to respect privacy, established on the basis of a business relationship or a relationship of confidence. Unlike misuse of private information, there needs to be this pre-existing relationship of confidence.

The Data Protection Act 1988
This Act sets out eight principles which people must comply with when they collect, store or organize data. This also gives you rights about the way in which people use your personal data, including them being unable to use your personal data in a way that causes damage or distress.

The Crime and Security Act 2010
This Act provides that fingerprint and DNA samples taken by the police from people who have not been charged or cautioned must be destroyed after 6 years.

You may feel your right to privacy has been infringed in any number of ways, from publication of private details to revenge porn. If this is the case you may be entitled to any of a number of remedies including injunctions, compensation or an account of profits, or destruction of offending material.

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Our Dispute Resolution Team