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Research

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Publication details for Professor Gavin Phillipson

Phillipson, G (2003). Transforming Breach of Confidence? Towards a Common Law Right of Privacy under the Human Rights Act. Modern Law Review 66(5): 726-758.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This article examines the development of a remedy for unauthorised publication of personal information that has resulted from the fusion of breach of confidence with the limited ‘horizontal’ application of Article 8 of the ECHR via the Human Rights Act. Its analysis of Strasbourg and domestic post-HRA case law reveals the extent to which confidence has in some areas been radically transformed into a privacy right in all but name; however it also seeks to expose the analytical and normative tensions that arise in the judgments between the values of confidentiality and privacy as overlapping but not coterminous concepts, due in part to the failure to resolve decisively the horizontal effect conundrum. This judicial ambivalence towards the reception of privacy as a legal right into English law may, it will argue, also be seen in the prevailing judicial approach to the resolution of the conflict between privacy and expression interests which, it will suggest, is both normatively and structurally inadequate.