This paper considers recent case law involving the tort of misuse of private information and, in particular, the law’s treatment of privacy-invading expression concerning a matter of public interest. It is well-established, from the leading case of Campbell v MGN Ltd (2004), that in order to resolve the conflict between competing privacy and free speech interests, the court must conduct a fact-sensitive examination of the claims to determine which is weightier. However, this paper questions whether this ‘balancing’ exercise is still meaningfully apparent in judicial reasoning in such cases or whether, instead, the courts are indulging what might be described as a ‘zonal’ approach by which the privacy claim is defeated if the expression demonstrates the quality of being ‘in the public interest’. It will be argued that although there is much to commend a reinterpretation of the Campbell test along these lines, the apparent development is damaging to the prospect of protecting privacy interests given the court’s generous interpretation of the term ‘public interest
Convenors: Dev Gangjee, Emily Hudson & Robert Pitkethly. Directions to the seminar room from the Porter’s Lodge. Refreshments provided, all are welcome (registration not required).