Mr Justice Warby has been put in charge of a new media and communications list, it was announced yesterday.
The move was agreed by the president of the Queen’s Bench Division, Sir Brian Leveson, and the judge in charge of the Queen’s Bench Civil List, Mr Justice Foskett.
Warby J will have primary responsibility for cases involving one or more of the main media torts – defamation, misuse of private information and breach of duty under the Data Protection Act – and related or similar claims, including malicious falsehood and harassment arising from publication or threatened publication by the print or broadcast media, online, on social media, or in speech.
Subject to the ultimate authority of the president, Warby J will exercise judicial responsibility for the listing of cases and for considering emerging procedural issues.
From 1 March, parties who consider that their case meets the parameters for the list should entitle their claim appropriately upon issue or filing an acknowledgement of service.
Though the new arrangement will not change existing practice – including the handling of those matters currently dealt with by the Queen’s Bench Masters – the statement said Mr Justice Warby was proposing to consult “in due course with those who litigate in this area and the judiciary with relevant experience, with a view to establishing generally whether there are any improved practical arrangements that might be made for cases of the kind specified”.
Sir Mark Warby has been a High Court judge since July 2014. A leading media silk at 5RB, where he was joint head of chambers, he is joint editor and a co-author of The Law of Privacy and the Media, published by OUP.