Kaye v Robertson

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Kaye v Robertson [1991] FSR 62 is a case in English law, expressing the view that there is no common-law right to privacy in English law.[1]


The case involved Gorden Kaye, a well-known actor, who suffered life-threatening injuries in a car accident. Kaye attempted to obtain an order to restrain publication of photographs of the injuries he suffered in the crash. These photographs were obtained by deception; a tabloid journalist entered the hospital while he was undergoing treatment.


A friend of Kaye had been granted an interlocutory injunction preventing the editor (Anthony Robertson) and the newspaper (the Sunday Sport) from using the material, a decision against which they appealed.

Lord Justice Glidewell said, "It is well known that in English law there is no right to privacy, and accordingly there is no right of action for breach of a person's privacy. The facts of the present case are a graphic illustration of the desirability of Parliament considering whether and in what circumstances statutory provision can be made to protect the privacy of individuals."[2]

In the absence of the right to privacy, Kaye's advisers based their claim on libel, malicious falsehood, trespass to the person and passing off. The Court of Appeal ruled that none of these torts was applicable except malicious falsehood, and on this basis, the only remedy available was that the newspaper was prohibited from stating any inference that Kaye had consented to the story.


The academic response to this ruling has been negative: "Kaye remains a compelling demonstration of the limits of both existing English law and of the limitations of an approach that relies upon inadequate existing remedies to protect privacy."[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kaye v. Robertson [1990] EWCA Civ 21, [1991] FSR 62
  2. ^ Lord Justice Glidewill, Kaye v Robertson, Times 21 March 1990, (1991) FSR 62 Glidewell LJ in the Court of Appeal. As quoted by Sam Makkan, "Privacy, Parliament & the Judiciary (the privacy ping pong)", published by Act Now Training.
  3. ^ Basil Markesinis; Colm O’Cinneide; Jörg Fedtke; Myriam Hunter-Henin. "Concerns and Ideas about the Developing English Law of Privacy" (PDF). University College London Institute of Global Law. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 

External links[edit]