Legal Case Overview: HRH Prince of Wales vs. Associated Newspaper Ltd

Topics: Human rights, Law, Privacy law Pages: 6 (1982 words) Published: April 26, 2009
You have asked me to write you a legal memorandum about the case HRH Prince of Wales v Associated Newspaper Ltd [2006] EWCA Civ 1776 (the Prince of Wales case). In the following memorandum, as to your request, I would deal with the following points in order: (i) material facts, (ii) procedural history, (iii) issues, (iv) arguments of the respondent (v) arguments of the appellant, (vi) the approach of the court, (vii) the test adopted by the court, (viii) conclusion of the court, (ix) ratio decidendi. At last, a conclusion concerning the effect of the Prince of Wales case on legal disputes of privacy would be presented. The Prince of Wales case involves a dispute on privacy and copyright. In the following memorandum, as to your order, only the issue on privacy would be considered. The convention that would be mentioned in the memorandum is the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950.

The Prince of Wales case
Material facts
1.The Associated Newspaper (the Newspaper) published extracts from 1 of the 8 journals written by Prince Charles in November, 2005 2.The journals consisted of Prince Charles’s impression and views during his overseas tour as a personal historical record and for fun. The published journal consisted of personal descriptions and comments of Prince Charles’s participation in the events that marked the handing over of Hong Kong. 3.The journals were usually photocopied and sent to a list of recipients by Ms Goodall, an employee of the Prince’s office. The journals sent were marked ‘Private and Confidential’ 4.The Associated Newspaper obtained the copies of the 8 journals from Ms Goodall via an intermediary. Such act was in breach of Ms Goodall’s employment contract. 5.After the publication of the extracts of the journal, Prince Charles brought a claim relating to the journal for breach of confidence and infringement of copyright Procedural history, outcome of the case

1The Prince of Wales case was a Court of Appeal case. The appellant was Associated Newspaper, the respondent was Prince of Wales, Charles. 2On 17 March 2006, Blackburne J of the High Court granted summary judgment in respect of Prince Charles’s claim of breach of confidence and infringement of copyright. 3The Newspaper appealed against the order and the case was brought to the Court of Appeal on 27 November 2006. The leading judges were Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers CJ, sir Anthony Clarke MR and May LJ. 4The Court of Appeal found no issues of fact unresolved as claimed by the Newspaper, the case was treated as an appeal, no retrial was required. 5The appeal was dismissed on 21 December 2006

Issues of the case
1In the case of appeal, were the journals confidential and was their content private? 2If the contents of the journals were private, then on balancing the right of privacy of Prince Charles under Art.8 and the right of expression of the Newspaper under Art.10 of the convention, which one prevails and by what approach? 3How much significance should be added to the duty of confidence involved in the case?

Arguments of the respondent, Prince Charles
1Prince Charles alleged that the publication of the extracts from the journal interfered with his right to respect for his private life and his correspondence under article 8 of the convention. Prince Charles claimed that the publication of the journal constituted in modern parlance a breach of privacy. 2Prince Charles accepted that the relief that he has claimed amounts to a restriction on the Newspaper’s right of freedom of expression under Art.10 of the convention, but alleged that this restriction could be justified under Art.10(2) as necessary to protect his right to privacy, his copyright and to prevent the disclosure of information received in confidence 3Prince Charles emphasized in his submissions to the judge the strong public interest in preserving the confidentiality of private journals and...
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