May 9, 2011 8:29 pm

Three judges at heart of the matter

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Sir David Eady

He may be the scourge of the tabloid press today, but Sir David Eady was once known for being “ferocious in his defence of the freedom of speech”, as one barrister described him. He defended The Sun newspaper when at One Brick Court Chambers, whose barristers are now often in front of him in court.

Taking silk in 1983, he was appointed to the Calcutt Committee in 1989, which examined whether tabloid journalism was intruding too far into private lives. Though the committee mooted whether a privacy law should be introduced, the main recommendation was the creation of the Press Complaints Commission.

His most notable decisions since becoming a judge in 1997 include awarding damages in 2008 to Max Mosley, the former head of Formula One racing, after finding that the News of the World invaded his privacy.

He has recognised the personal criticism laid at him by some members of the press as “an inevitable consequence of adopting the balancing approach” between privacy and freedom of speech.


Sir Michael Tugendhat

Sir Michael Tugendhat was involved in press freedom cases before joining the bench in 2003. He defended the Financial Times against Interbrew over whether this newspaper and others should be forced to divulge confidential sources. The European Court of Human Rights eventually found in favour of the FT and the other defendants in 2009 after a seven-year battle.

His last hurrah as a QC at 5 Raymond Buildings was representing Michael Douglas, the Hollywood actor, his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, and OK! magazine againstits rival Hello!, which published unauthorised photos of their wedding. The couple had promised the photos to OK!

He studied at Cambridge, and won a fellowship to Yale University Law School before joining 5 Raymond Buildings.

He overturned a super-injunction sought by John Terry, the footballer, in 2010. He also took over from Sir David Eady as head of the jury lists, responsible for assigning judges to cases.


Victoria Sharp

Mrs Justice Sharp was a pupil at One Brick Court Chambers, officially joining in 1982. She appeared in front of Sir David Eady, her former co-tenant, in 2007, successfully representing Associated Newspapers in its fight against Lord Browne, then chief executive of BP.

She became a judge in 2009 and last year threw out a claim against the Daily Telegraph by Robert Dee, described as the “world’s worst tennis player”.

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