For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Wednesday, 26 November 2003

“MIRROR MIRROR IN THE COURT, HAST THOU BEEN NAUGHTIER THAN THOU OUGHT?”

The Lawtel subscription-only service has featured the curious case of Attorney-General v Ryan Lee Parry and MGN Ltd. In this case the parties made a statement in open court, announcing the agreement of terms of settlement between the Queen and MGN, the publishers of the Daily Mirror newspaper. This settlement follows the publication of two articles in the Daily Mirror that showed there was an inadequate vetting process for potential employees of the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace and also disclosed personal details of the domestic life of the Queen and members of the Royal Family. Parry, a reporter for the Daily Mirror, obtained a position as a footman in the Royal Household by submitting a false reference. Parry started work with the Royal Household on 23 September 2003 and the first of an intended series of articles appeared in the newspaper on 19 and 20 November 2003. Those articles not only revealed shortcomings in the vetting process for engaging staff at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle but also revealed intimate details of the personal and domestic lives of the Royal Family. The Royal Family considered them to be "a highly objectionable invasion of privacy, devoid of any legitimate [public] interest" and in breach of privacy agreement signed by Parry. A temporary injunction was ordered by Mr Justice Lewison on 20 November 2003. This injunction prevented any further publications while the parties submitted evidence to the Court, on the ground that the Queen was likely to succeed in obtaining a permanent injunction against further publication.

The terms of settlement agreed by the parties before Mr Justice Lightman on 24 November included (i) a permanent injunction prohibiting any further disclosures by Parry or MGN; (ii) delivery up of all photographs and unpublished documents; (iii) the destruction of any draft and unpublished stories; (iv) a ban on any further syndication of material already published and (v) an undertaking not to republish certain photographs. The defendants also agreed to contribute £25,000 to the Queen's legal costs.

The IPKat is delighted that the parties were able to do all this themselves, in contrast with the dispute involving the other royal family (Douglas and Zeta-Jones v Hello!) in which the parties could scarcely be induced to agree on anything. The IPKat also notes that the Royal Family appear to treated, at least in this instance, as being as protectable by the law as any of their subjects are, contrary to the view that there is an inherently greater public interest in knowing about them than about ordinary citizens
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More on domestic servants here, here and here
Vetting of employees here and here
Other types of vetting here and here


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