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A Potential Framework For Privacy? A Reply To Hello!

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In Douglas v Hello! Ltd (No 3), the Court of Appeal noted that one ramification of ‘shoehorning’ invasions of privacy into the cause of action of breach of confidence is that ‘it does not fall to be treated as a tort under English law’. In contrast, this article contends that English courts should explicitly recognise and develop a framework for a tort of privacy, and outlines one possible version—comprising both privacy interests and the elements of the potential tort. The framework draws upon longstanding Canadian and United States jurisprudence, as well as recent fascinating Australasian decisions that have grappled with privacy claims. In reality, breach of confidence is becoming an unrecognizable cousin of the creature which Megarry J described in Coco v AN Clark (Engineers) Ltd in 1969. If, however, it is to be buttressed by a judicially-created tort of privacy, then that tort's elements must be capable of being feasibly articulated and applied.

Keywords: Tort; breach of confidence; privacy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Law, Queen Mary University of London

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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