Mosley fails in European Court privacy appeal

Ex-Formula One boss Max Mosley has failed in his bid to get his case to toughen up UK privacy laws referred to the European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber.

In May, Mosley took the UK government to the European Court seeking a change in the law to make it compulsory for journalists to contact the subjects of their stories in advance when publishing information which breached their privacy.

Mosley claimed it was unfair that the first he knew of the News of the World filming his extra-marital sexual exploits with five paid dominatrices was when he read about it in the paper.

He lost his case – with the European Court arguing that UK law was already correctly balanced between the competing rights to privacy and freedom of expression – but in June announced he was seeking to appeal to the Grand Chamber of the court

In a statement his lawyers Collyer Bristow said the ECHR had rejected Mosley’s appeal and that the Grand Chamber would not be reconsidering the decision.

Mosley commented: The decision of ECtHR in May of this year, which is now final, was made at a time when every British paper was attacking privacy law.

‘Only now are we beginning to understand the extent to which personal privacy was routinely invaded by the News of the World and the consequences of such behaviour.

‘My view remains that the requirement for prior notification is unanswerable. I am hopeful that the UK Government by way of the various committees and inquiries can find a regime for effective safeguards for personal privacy. This is certainly not the end of the road.”

Solicitor Mark Stephens represented Index on Censorship, the Media Legal Defence Initiative and other interested parties in the case.

‘This decision by the Grand Chamber and the previous decision by the court underline the recommendation made by the UK parliament’s Culture Media and Sport Committee,’he said.

‘This is a great day for free speech in Britain and throughout Europe.”

Index on Censorship news editor Padraig Reidy added: ‘Index submitted its concerns about Mr Mosley’s prior-notification plans as we recognised the threat such an obligation would pose to investigative journalism.

‘While privacy is of course a concern, forcing newspapers to reveal stories would have a serious chilling effect.’

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