In April 2019, the Court of Appeal upheld an award of a total of £20,000 in damages for misuse of private information to a couple whose eviction was included in an episode of Channel 5’s Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away. While the Court of Appeal recognised that other judges might have reached a different conclusion on liability or awarded higher damages, they did not think it could be said that the trial judge was wrong to find in favour of the couple, or that the measure of damages he had awarded to them was unreasonable.
The damages awarded to the claimants in this case do seem low, bearing in mind the trial judge’s finding that the private information disclosed was “fairly sensitive”, the fact that the programme was viewed nearly 10 million times and the claimants’ evidence that this had caused them significant distress. Perhaps with a nod to the damages awards in the phone-hacking cases – the current “high water mark” for damages in privacy cases – the Court of Appeal noted that other judges “might well have reached a higher figure”, but ultimately considered that the damages awarded were not outside the realms of what was reasonable.
To read the full article, click here. Article written for Entertainment Law Review.