Lily Allen uses harassment law to curb paparazzi

Lawyers acting for pop singer Lily Allen have used anti-stalker legislation to stop her being harassed by photographers.

The move, under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, was made at the High Court on Friday and followed an incident outside the singer's London home on Thursday involving more than a dozen photographers.

After leaving her house in a car, she was followed by photographers in several vehicles, one of which ended up colliding with her car. After the collision, photographers continued to follow Allen.

Lawyers Carter Ruck went to the High Court on Friday and obtained undertakings from two photographic agencies and a third photographer not to harass Allen.

The order also sets out more wide-ranging restrictions on "X and others" who are defined as "the individuals responsible for taking photographs of the claimant outside her home and in other public places during February and March 2009".

The order states that these photographers must not:

  • Pursue or follow the claimant, whether by car, motorcycle, moped, or by any means howsoever;
  • Place the claimant under surveillance; or approach within 100 metres of the claimant's home;
  • Take pictures of the claimant: in her home or the home of any members of her family or friends, or when she is in the garden of the said homes; or in office blocks or buildings not open to the general public; or when she is entering or leaving her home, the home of any members of her family or friends, or when she is in the garden of the said homes
  • Or take pictures while she is being followed or pursued by photographers; or otherwise, harass or intimidate the claimant.

The order states that anyone disobeying the order could imprisoned, fined or have their assets seized

Allen's lawyer Mark Thomson said: "My client, Lily Allen has faced constant harassment over the last few months from the paparazzi.

"As a result of this and various incidents of harassment that took place in London on Thursday, my client has now been forced to take legal action."

The Press Complaints Commission has the power to ask journalists to desist if someone complains that they are harassing them.

But few photographic agencies are signed up to the editors' code of practice, which underpins the PCC.

On this occasion, Carter Ruck did not complain to the PCC.

In September last year, Carter Ruck used the PCC to obtain an agreement from UK newspapers not to use photos of the actress Sienna Miller which had come about as a result of harassment.

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