Hot on the heels of the damages award in Douglas v Hello, the High Court has this week ordered French snapper agency Eliot Press SARL to pay damages for breach of confidence and data protection infringement to film star Ewan McGregor.
The action dates back to photos taken of McGregor's children while on holiday in Mauritius last year. McGregor had secured an injunction in the High Court against Eliot Press which has not defended the action.
McGregor slammed celebrity gossip magazine HEAT back in May, saying it was a "dirty, filfthy piece of shit" for publishing such pictures.
In making the damages order Mr Justice Eady stated that the level of award will be assessed at a subsequent hearing.
This case could prove pivotal in shaping the courts approach to breach of confidence branded privacy cases in the future. While Douglas v Hello focused on economic loss and Naomi Campbell's claim against the Mirror finally fell down because of lies, McGregor's is a more straightforward claim. It is not commercially driven but concerns the reasonable expectation of privacy he and his family should be able to enjoy.
Previous cases have sent mixed messages - Sarah Cox and partner were awarded damages for intrusive pictures of their holiday while newscaster Anna Ford was denied justice for similar holiday snaps of her and partner. Meanwhile actress Kate Beckinsdale also received no recompense or apology for shots of her and her child in a park.
With the PCC not able to deter snappers with court orders or sanctions it is up to the High Court to take a lead and give the law some steer in this area.
Where can people in general and celebrities in particular have a 'reasonable expectation of privacy'?
Where should the judicial line be drawn on the use of longlens photography to steal illicit shots?
McGregor's case is not about the publicity right but about his, or his children's private rights. The value of these remains to be determined by the court. It will be interesting to see what the courts come up with!