Question as to whether the Data Protection Act 1998 s 32(4) and s 32(5) contravene Directive 95/46 referred to the CJEU


Re: Stunt v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 1780

The appellant appealed against a stay, which was ordered under the Data Protection Act 1998 s 32(4), of claims he had made against the respondent newspaper group for misuse of private information and breaches of the Act.

The Court found by majority, that s 32(4), which provided for a stay of proceedings concerning the processing of personal data in relation to the publication of new journalistic material, was compatible with Directive 95/46 art 9. It held that s 32(4) was part and parcel of the balancing exercise required by art 9, which required Member States to restrict exemptions for the processing of personal data carried out solely for journalistic purposes only where that was necessary to reconcile the right to privacy with the freedom of expression.

Further, s 32(4) fell within the margin of appreciation afforded to the UK Parliament to protect the right of freedom of expression by a measure of narrow application designed to prevent the stifling of journalism in progress, and he ordered a stay of the appellant’s claims under the Act. However, given the disagreements between members of the court, as to the issue of whether s 32(4) complied with the Directive, a reference was made to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling on the issue.

Ben Silverstone and Antony White QC were involved in this case.