Today’s controversial Supreme Court decision is tomorrow’s media law module

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By Katie King on

As lawyers scramble to offer insight into top court’s celebrity injunction decision, students brace themselves for new media law lecture content


This morning the Supreme Court gave its long-awaited ruling in a contentious legal battle between a celebrity and News Group Newspapers, owner of the Sun on Sunday, over the individual’s identity; students can bet it will feature in their law student syllabuses next year.

The five-judge bench — including law student favourites Lady Hale and Lord Neuberger — ruled with a majority of four to one that an injunction obtained by the celebrity, known only as ‘PJS’, should continue.

The appellant, a big name in the entertainment industry, is reported to have had, in the words of the Supreme Court: an extra-marital “three-way sexual encounter”. The press have not been able to reveal his identity because of this injunction.

Though court rulings often fly by with very little to whet the public appetite, the PJS judgment is a juicy legal story which has provoked strong reactions across the spectrum.

Lawyers and academics seem pretty happy about the ruling.

While, unsurprisingly, the journalists aren’t.

Only the Supreme Court itself seems to understate the case. In the ruling, Lord Neuberger writes:

“It is unlikely that the heavens will fall at our decision.”

Neuberger may be right but the case is significant from a legal point of view and it’s likely this will be reflected in law school syllabuses.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, University of East Anglia law lecturer Paul Bernal told us:

I’ll certainly be putting [the judgment] on the syllabus for our media law undergraduate module next year… as well as in my post graduate ‘privacy and reputation’ module in the LLM.

So that means even more law cases to learn, unfortunately.

Read the judgment in full below:

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