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Mosley launches final appeal against European Court ruling

Former FIA President Max Mosley has confirmed that he intends to appeal the European Court of Human Rights' ruling throwing out his bid to bring about a change in the UK's privacy laws - his final legal recourse
Max Mosley's lawyers have confirmed that the ex-FIA President has lodged a formal appeal against the European Court of Human Rights' ruling last month that scuppered his bid to engineer a toughening-up of media privacy laws in the UK.

Dissatisfied with the record £60,000 in damages that he was awarded after the News of the World published a salacious front page exposé back in March, 2008 revealing lurid details of Mosley's liaison with five prostitutes, the Englishman took his fight to Strasbourg's European Court seeking to bring about a change in the law to the effect that newspapers would henceforth be legally-bound to notify in advance public figures about whom they are planning to publish information that may infringe upon their privacy – thereby enabling the subject to seek an injunction preventing publication.

The Court, however, concluded that such a significant overhaul would have yielded a 'chilling effect' on the media and deemed that 'Article 8 [of the European Convention on Human Rights, safeguarding the 'right to private life'] does not require a legally-binding pre-notification requirement' and that in Mosley's case, 'there has been no violation of Article 8 of the convention by the absence of such a requirement in domestic law' [see separate story – click here].

Newspaper chiefs had feared that the implementation of a 'pre-publication notification' in defence of the 'right to private life' would have breached their own 'right to freedom of expression', as laid out under Article 10 of the convention – and the European Court agreed that the current balance between the two core values is not in need of amendment.

Mosley has now resorted to his last remaining option, in seeking a final hearing before the European Court's 17-judge Grand Chamber. However, Press Gazette has cautioned that the Court only accepts appeals in exceptional circumstances and has not yet indicated whether or not it is willing to listen to this particular case.

“Despite the Court's 'severe criticisms' of the News of the World, this and other tabloid newspapers could use the same techniques tomorrow to obtain and publish intimate photographs and details of the sex lives of individuals, without notice and in the knowledge that it is wholly unlawful,” read a statement released by the 70-year-old's lawyers Collyer Bristow, reasoning that with no stipulation for the media to forewarn individuals against the publication of sensitive information, there is no effective remedy for what last month's ruling described as 'a flagrant and unjustified invasion of private life'.

“Privacy has been the subject of considerable public and media debate in the last month, and a ruling from the Grand Chamber of the Court is needed upon this important issue to close a clear gap in UK law.”

Should Mosley's appeal prove unsuccessful, he will have no more legal recourse in his battle, whilst he is ostensibly continuing to pursue the News of the World, the Sunday tabloid's chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, News Group newspapers and their lawyers Farrer & Co through the French courts for defamation and invasion of privacy.

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June 04, 2011 2:00 AM

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June 04, 2011 7:11 PM

andrew. the court appeal has nothing to do with what max was up to! it is about privacy, and everybody has the right to that. the final ruling will have wide reaching effect, whichever way it goes. like mm or not, he is still an emminent barrister.

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