The Sunday Times Magazine has revealed some rare public comments from leading media law judge Mr Justice Eady.
The comments are included in a feature exposing the extent to which the rich and famous are using extremely expensive legal tactics to ward of unwanted media attention.
It details how such shrinking violets as Jonathan Ross and comedy duo Walliams/Lucas have used legal threats from expensive media lawyer Keith Schilling to control media coverage.
And it reveals for the first time a response from Mr Justice Eady to Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre’s stinging attack on him – made at the Society of Editors conference.
Dacre accused Eady of creating a backdoor privacy law for the UK saying:
“The law is not coming from Parliament – no, that would smack of democracy – but from the arrogant and amoral judgements, words I use very deliberately, of one man.
“I am referring, of course, to Justice David Eady who has, again and again, under the privacy clause of the Human Rights Act, found against newspapers and their age-old freedom to expose the moral shortcomings of those in high places.”
Mr Justice Eady declined to speak to The Sunday Times, on the grounds that he does not give interviews, but he did give journalist Stephen Robinson access to a speech given under ‘Chatham House rules’at the House of Lords last month.
“The media, Mr Justice Eady suggested, had found so few grounds for appeal after his decision that they had no way to vent their frustrations other than by ‘abusing the referee’.
“Certain judges, Eady noted, making it clear he had himself in mind, ‘have come under increasingly hysterical attack in the media simply because it is easier than going by way of appeal. One in particular has been accused of ‘moral and social nihilism’, ‘arrogance’, ‘immorality’, ‘amor-ality’ and of favouring privacy because he is ‘painfully shy’; and of combining all that with being ‘a frozen haddock’. This is natural if there is no other way of letting off steam. I think it simply has to be recognised as an inevitable consequence of adopting the balancing approach and the ‘intense focus’ on the particular facts of the case’.”