Privacy law


Privacy law has littered headlines for many years now as more people in the public eye have felt intruded upon by paparazzi or journalists, and have entered into high profile litigation to prevent press leaks. But what is privacy law and how does it affect the average non-celebrity? And how can you get legal help?

What is the law on privacy?

In the UK there is no separate privacy law as such. Instead, the European Convention of Human Rights, which has been implemented in the UK, contains an article affording UK citizens a 'right to respect for private and family life', sometimes known as the 'Article 8 right'.

However, this right conflicts with another – freedom of expression – which is commonly used as a defence by the press in high-profile privacy law cases.

For the regular person who is not hounded by paparazzi or featured in gossip magazines, privacy law can affect personal or business life through the doctrine of breach of confidence. Businesses which pioneer new products or methods of working will probably impress a level of confidentiality onto their employees. So, when an employee then leaks this private information to, say, a rival company, a breach of confidence court case may arise.

Specialist privacy law solicitors are not only necessary if you are faced with litigation but can assist you on how to protect your private or confidential business and personal material.

What constitutes invasion of privacy?

Invasion of privacy laws have become increasingly numerous over the last hundred years, with many others becoming archaic but never being repealed. In recent years people have become increasingly concerned with invasion of privacy law and what our state is doing to protect us.

Simply put, the state has rights of entry into your home entrenched in more than 200 Acts of Parliament, and although most would be totally irrelevant to most people the rights remain.

Invasion of privacy law concerns not only entry to your home by the state, but:

  • CCTV
  • Entry to your home by officials
  • Phone tapping or hacking
  • Your rights to privacy

The extent of the laws that exist to allow invasion of privacy on the one hand and prevent invasion of privacy on the other is massive, and if you feel that you want assistance with this you should contact a specialist solicitor.

The Human Rights Act 1998 enacts the European Convention on Human rights in domestic law. This allows people to enforce their rights under European law without having to bring the case in the European Court of Human Rights.

The Human Rights Act gives people a right to privacy and family life and also states that judges must make every decision in every case which regards any piece of legislation, with a view to the Human Rights Act. This means that judges must decide in accordance with the Human Rights Act if possible, even if it is not the piece of legislation they are considering at the time.

For more information on instructing a solicitor, see our page on what a privacy lawyer can advise you on.

Do you have a case concerning privacy law, or feel that your privacy has been unlawfully invaded? Contact Law works with some of the best privacy lawyers in the country who can help you bring a case against a private or public body. It is a highly specialist area of law and should not be attempted alone. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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