The Media and Communications List

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Mr Justice Warby to take charge of media-related case listing

With the concurrence of the President of the Queen’s Bench Division, the Judge in charge of the Queen’s Bench Civil List, Mr Justice Foskett, has invited Mr Justice Warby to take primary responsibility for cases involving one or more of the main media torts (defamation, misuse of private information and breach of duty under the Data Protection Act) and related or similar claims including malicious falsehood and harassment arising from publication or threatened publication by the print or broadcast media, online, on social media, or in speech.

To this end, a new list within the Queen’s Bench Division called the Media and Communications List will be created and Mr Justice Warby will be designated as the Judge in charge of the Media and Communications List. Subject to the ultimate authority of the President of the Queen’s Bench Division and, where appropriate, following consultation with the Judge in charge of the Queen’s Bench Civil List, the Judge in charge of the Media and Communications List will exercise judicial responsibility for the listing of cases of the nature set out above and of applications within them and will be responsible for considering emerging procedural issues in this context

As from 1 March 2017 parties who consider that their case meets the foregoing parameters should entitle their claim appropriately upon issue or upon filing an Acknowledgement of Service. This should be done by inserting the words “Media and Communications List” below “Queen’s Bench Division”. Cases so designated will be assigned to the Media and Communications List by the court. The court will retain the power to move cases in and out of this list of its own motion or upon application.

These modifications apart, the new arrangement will not change existing practice (including the handling of those matters currently dealt with by the Queen’s Bench Masters), but Mr Justice Warby is proposing to consult in due course with those who litigate in this area and the judiciary with relevant experience, with a view to establishing generally whether there are any improved practical arrangements that might be made for cases of the kind specified.

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