Book review: Landmark Cases in Privacy Law, Paul Wragg and Peter Coe (eds)

Review by Dr Oliver Butler, Assistant Professor, University of Nottingham.

The latest in Hart’s Landmark Cases series, Landmark Cases in Privacy Law, edited by Paul Wragg and Peter Coe, is a rich and wide-ranging exploration of attempts to grapple with the concept of privacy before the courts of various jurisdictions.

As a collection of reflections by prominent legal scholars on leading cases, presented in chronological order, it gives a unique insight into the challenges courts have faced in addressing privacy problems with existing legal concepts and the successes and failures of courts in doing so. In addition to the keen analysis of individual cases, which can stand on their own as important commentaries, the collection as a whole provides readers with a sense of the history of privacy from the perspective of the courts. The in-depth analysis of cases, set in their historical and intellectual context, provides for a richer engagement with those cases. Jacob Rowbottom’s chapter on Kaye v Robertson is a particularly good example of this, setting the case in the context of the Calcutt Committee’s contemporaneous work on press regulation, as are N A Moreham’s, Gavin Phillipson’s and Kirsty Hughes’ chapters on privacy in the UK and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as the courts transformed breach of confidence into a positive protection for Article 8 ECHR rights.

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