Leveson inquiry: Tomlinson QC to outline regulation plan

A barrister who represented footballer Ryan Giggs in a “notorious” legal battle with a tabloid newspaper will today outline proposals for a system of media regulation to the Leveson inquiry into journalistic ethics.

Hugh Tomlinson QC will explain plans – drawn up by a group including academics, lawyers and journalists – to the Leveson Inquiry in London.

The Media Regulation Roundtable group proposes a regulatory system which would protect the media’s right to “publish information on public interest matters” and “protect the privacy and reputational rights of individuals”.

Details of the proposals – which include the formation of a Media Standards Authority (MSA), established by statute – are outlined in a statement on the Leveson Inquiry website.

The statement says Tomlinson is a member of the Roundtable and has drafted proposals on regulation after discussions.

Roundtable members propose the creation of a Code of Media Ethics and Responsibility and say the MSA would be able to issue advisory “desist notices” if journalists or “paparazzi” were harassing an individual.

Tomlinson represented Manchester United and Wales star Giggs in a High Court fight with The Sun. A High Court judge blew the final whistle on Giggs’ claim in March.

Giggs argued that The Sun had “misused” private information and said he was entitled to claim damages for distress and breach of a right to privacy.

Mr Justice Tugendhat said Giggs’ claim for damages was unlikely to result in any significant award and concluded there was no purpose in allowing litigation to continue.

Giggs sued after The Sun published an article about a relationship with reality television star Imogen Thomas – headlined Footie Star’s Affair with Big Bro Imogen – on April 14, 2011.

Shortly afterwards a judge ruled that Giggs should not be identified, but referred to as CTB to protect his privacy.

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming then used parliamentary privilege, when speaking in the Commons, to name Giggs as the player involved in the case.

Giggs was subsequently named in the media and on the internet, even though the court order banning identification remained in place for several months.

Mr Justice Tugendhat said the case became notorious.

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