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Defamation, Media & Privacy Law


Our reputation and privacy are, quite naturally, very important to us. However, our private lives are increasingly under threat with the encroachment of social media. This applies to corporates and partnerships, as well as individuals. If, for example, a false statement is made about a company, such that it is adversely affected in the market place or is at risk of implosion, and for instance, the false statement goes ‘viral’, the company may well have a case against the publisher(s) of the statement for defamation. A court can award damages for libellous or slanderous defamatory acts. Proceedings may prove costly but we are willing to consider ‘no win, no fee’ agreements in appropriate cases.

The Right to be Forgotten

The European Court of Justice ruled in May 2014 that search engine Google must remove links to any content that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” or face a fine. The content itself is not deleted, but it will be not be listed in Google search results. Following the judgment in the case of Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González, internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing are now responsible for personal information which appears on other parties’ web pages. As such, these search engines must give individuals the right to request the removal of information that appears in search results.


This ruling only affects European site branches. Therefore, those visiting the US Google site, for example, will remain unaffected, even if they reside in the UK. Many people have been affected, usually as a result of previous criminal convictions becoming known by, for example, a prospective employer. Clarke Barnes can help to have information removed from the internet, from individual web-pages or from search engine results, including:


– Offensive images
– National identification numbers/ bank account numbers/ credit card numbers
– Images of signatures
– Any information that appears to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant or excessive in the light of the time that had elapsed


This list is not exhaustive and removals are decided on a case by case basis.