Sep 5, 2017

Duke and Duchess awarded damages over topless photographs

A French court today awarded €100,000 to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in a privacy case relating to topless photographs of the Duchess taken in 2012 and published in French Closer magazine.

The case relates to photographs taken of the couple on holiday at a family owned villa in France, and the court also issued substantial fines against the editor and owner of Closer magazine.

In the UK, whilst traditionally there was no cause of legal action for invasion of privacy, the courts have now recognised "misuse of private information" as a tort, which is a civil wrong. There is also case law authority suggesting that private information need not be published per se in order for a claim to be brought; a party obtaining and storing information may be sufficient, and thus unlawful.

The European Convention  for the Protection of Human Rights (the Convention) also forms an important backdrop to privacy law in the UK, particularly article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and article 10 (freedom of expression); privacy law seeks to achieve a balance between those conflicting rights. The Convention is an internationally binding instrument that is independent of the UK's membership of the EU; the Human Rights Act 1998 incorporated the Convention into UK law.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or

in: EU/International, News

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