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UK’s highest court to examine right to privacy of those under investigation
Sir Cliff Richard

28 Jan 2021 / courts Print

UK’s highest court to examine right to privacy

The question of whether the name of anyone under criminal investigation can be kept out of press reports is to be examined by the United Kingdom, the Law Society Gazette of England and Wales has reported. 

Permission has been granted to appeal in Bloomberg LP (Appellant) v ZXC (Respondent).

The decision has echoes of a 2018 High Court ruling against the BBC, in a privacy case brought by singer Cliff Richard.

Sir Cliff Richard won £2m towards his legal costs from the BBC after agreeing a final settlement following a privacy case after the broadcaster covered a South Yorkshire police raid on his home.


The footage, which included aerial shots taken from a helicopter, was shown on news bulletins throughout the day of the raid.

Officers were investigating an allegation made by a man who claimed he was sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff in 1985. But the singer was never arrested or charged and the case was dropped two years later.

Sir Cliff later joined other public figures in calling for the law to protect the anonymity of people until they are actually charged with a crime.

The UK Supreme Court is to consider “whether, and to what extent, a person who has not been charged with an offence can have a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to information that relates to a criminal investigation into his activities”.

News service Bloomberg is appealing a Court of Appeal ruling dismissing its appeal of an order for deletion of articles identifying a US businessman ‘ZXC’.

Bloomberg had used the name in a report after seeing a letter of request for information sent by 'a UK legal enforcement body' to a foreign state.


The news service argued that the ZXC's conduct fell outside his right to privacy of private or family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

However the Court of Appeal found that a person under investigation has a 'reasonable expectation of privacy up to the point of charge'. 

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