By Sebina Noreen Malik
The Hight Court has held that an individual’s right to privacy has been breached by the publication of a news article containing information about him relating to an investigation.
The Claimant was a business man and the chief executive of a UK company who had applied for an injunction to remove a news article from the defendant’s website in connection with an investigation into allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption by the claimant company.
The defendant had published an article about the claimant based on a confidential law enforcement document. The claimant had a reasonable expectation of privacy as he was not a director of the company. Further, the claimant’s claim to privacy was not over the claimant’s alleged involvement in corruption but over the leaked confidential details of the investigation and its evidence.
The defendant was asked to take down the confidential article but declined the request to remove the article that had already been published. The claimant had not consented to the publication of his name in connection to a criminal investigation of a company with which he was associated and issued an application for a mandatory take-down injunction on misuse of private information.
The judge held that he had been misled because he had not been told about the company’s protests both before and after the publication. In this case, an injunction would have been useful, and it was likely that an interim injunction would have been granted.
The claimant could not rely upon reputational damages since he had admitted that the truth or falsity of the information in the article was not relevant. The claimant relied upon distress and embarrassment suffered as a result of the publication of the article and was awarded £25,000. (ZXC v Bloomberg LP  EWHC 970 (QB) (17 April 2019).)