Friday, April 06, 2007

British House of Lords declines to hear McKennitt case appal

Last week, the British House of Lords declined to hear an appeal of the case which has been said to dramatically expand privacy rights for celebrities. At issue is a book that describes, among other things, the private life of Canadian folk singer Loreena McKennitt. The Court of Appeal had issued an injunction preventing the publication of the book. With the House of Lord's decision to not intervene, that decision stands.

For some previous coverage, see Canadian Privacy Law Blog: McKennitt injunction in the Court of Appeal and Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Canadian folk singer opens the door to expanded privacy for celebrities in Europe.

From the Globe & Mail: House of Lords won't hear appeal in McKennitt case

House of Lords won't hear appeal in McKennitt case


From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

Toronto — The British House of Lords has denied an application to appeal the verdict of Canadian folk singer Loreena McKennitt's controversial privacy case.

The far-reaching court decision has been viewed as greatly extending the privacy rights of celebrities and other public figures.

Last December, a British Court of Appeal upheld a lower-court judgment that found that a self-published book by Canadian expatriate Niema Ash -- Travels with Loreena McKennitt -- had infringed on the performer's privacy.

Ash, a London-based writer who had befriended and worked for McKennitt in the 1980s and 90s, took the appeal to the House of Lords this year.

But the Lords said her petition "did not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance."

Yesterday, Ash said she was "devastated" by the refusal to re-examine the case and said her last resort would be to take it to the European Court of Human Rights.

"It's quite unbelievable," she said. "The case now seems finished in England. Taking it to the Court of Human Rights is the only avenue left. . . . I'm determined not to let things drop now."

Meanwhile, she has republished the original book, deleting sections found by the courts to be intrusive.

McKennitt, on tour in Europe, said in a statement she was "grateful to the courts . . . who have recognized that every person has an equal right to a private life. . . ."

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