Coogan v News Group Newspapers Ltd & Another is the latest in a string of claims brought in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. In this case Nicola Phillips, a former assistant to PR agent Max Clifford, and Steve Coogan, the well-known comedian, each brought claims for breach of confidence and misuse of private information on the basis that their mobile telephone messages had been hacked.
The recent Court of Appeal judgment considers the law of privilege against self-incrimination and whether the private investigator Glen Mulcaire could rely on PSI in light of an exception in the Senior Courts Act 1981 which provides that where proceedings involve the infringement of intellectual property rights, privilege against self-incrimination cannot be relied upon. The Court of Appeal carried out an interesting analysis of the meaning of "intellectual property" in this context.
To expand on this, Macfarlanes provides a brief background to the hacking scandal and outlines the rule of PSI in respect of civil proceedings, how confidential information can qualify as intellectual property; and whether or not the judgment expands the scope of intellectual property.
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