Public figures have a right to privacy
Independent, The (London) , Apr 27, 2005
by PHILIP HENSHER
The law on privacy has reached, surely, a most peculiar point. It's very difficult for an observer to understand the justice which underlies the most recent piece of celebrity scandal. If you had never heard of David and Victoria Beckham, had no idea of their fame, it would be all but impossible to understand why a court had decided that their privacy could be so comprehensively invaded by a nanny under contractual obligations and an opportunistic newspaper. Fame, surely, is not enough to remove any right to a private life. Or so one might have thought.
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In brief, a nanny employed by the Beckhams sold her story, at the weekend, to the News of the World. Despite the fact that she had signed, as a condition of her employment, a contract which enjoined her public silence on any matters of private family life, she supplied the newspaper with enough details to fill half its pages last Sunday.
They were very private details indeed, including allegations of affairs and marital discord. The newspaper made no attempt to contact the Beckhams in advance to ask them for any comment, since, the reporter said, 'we knew from past experience that they would apply for an injunction to try to cover up the truth.' Nevertheless, the Beckhams did learn of the story before publication, and on Saturday applied for an emergency injunction.
Mr Justice Langley refused the injunction, and the story went ahead. Although he made no ruling about the nanny's breaching any duty of confidence, he was apparently persuaded that the publication of the story was in...