Art in Chambers:
London 1936 by Wolf Suschitzky
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Qualified Privilege and the HRA: Clift v Slough Borough Council
Judgment in the above case was handed down recently in the Court of Appeal.
The local authority placed the Claimant on its register of potentially violent people, which it circulated to certain of its employees and partner organisations providing services on the council’s behalf. The council contended there was qualified privilege, arguing that the publication was limited to people within an existing relationship that required the free and frank flow of information.
The Court of Appeal held that the law of qualified privilege has been modified by the Human Rights Act such that each publication has to be necessary and proportionate.
This decision is very significant: local authorities will now have to ensure that an individual assessment is carried out in each and every case where similar information is going to be published to be able to rely on qualified privilege.
Lord Faulks QC and Andrew Spencer acted for the local authority.
The local authority is seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.