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Damages for reputational harm: can privacy actions tread on defamation’s turf?

Hariharan, J; (2021) Damages for reputational harm: can privacy actions tread on defamation’s turf? Journal of Media Law , 13 (2) pp. 186-210. 10.1080/17577632.2021.2012393. Green open access

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Abstract

In four recent cases, the High Court of England and Wales has had to consider whether damages for reputational harm can be recovered in a claim for misuse of private information (‘MOPI’). This is an important issue which sharpens focus on the precise boundaries between privacy and defamation law. And yet it is a question on which the court is currently divided, with different judges coming to different conclusions on whether, and on what basis, reputational harm damages can be awarded in a privacy claim. This article argues that the key to resolving this issue is to better understand: (1) the precise interests protected by defamation and MOPI; and (2) how the interests protected by each tort are tied to the available heads of damage. Unpacking these points in turn, the article explains why damages for reputational harm should be restricted to defamation and be unavailable in a MOPI claim.

Type: Article
Title: Damages for reputational harm: can privacy actions tread on defamation’s turf?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/17577632.2021.2012393
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/17577632.2021.2012393
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: Privacy misuse of private information defamation, reputation, damages
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139222
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