School of Law

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Dr Paul Wragg's Publications

Journal articles

  • Wragg PM, ‘Open Justice and Privacy’, Communications Law, 22.3 (2017), 90-98
    Repository URL:

  • Wragg P, ‘Privacy and the emergent intrusion doctrine’, Journal of Media Law, 9.1 (2017), 14-27
    DOI: 10.1080/17577632.2016.1270559

    © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This comment piece analyses the Supreme Court decision in PJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd. The case is an important source of principle on the availability of injunctive relief where the private information at stake becomes widely known. Despite this, the decision is a missed opportunity to clarify some of the key controversies within the misuse of private information jurisprudence. Specifically, the Court might have done more to clarify the nature and meaning of the enigmatic ‘freedom to criticise’ doctrine. The decision also adopts a controversial approach concerning the adequacy of damages where wealthy claimants are involved.


  • Wragg PM, ‘The value of a privacy injunction when "everybody knows": A comment on PJS v News Group Newspapers’, Communications Law, 21.2 (2016), 25-27

  • Wragg PM, ‘No employer right to snoop but what of employee rights at work?’, Communications Law, 21.1 (2016), 1-2
    Repository URL:

  • Wragg P, ‘Protecting Private Information of Public Interest: Campbell's Great Promise, Unfulfilled’, Journal of Media Law, 7.2 (2015), 225-250
    DOI: 10.1080/17577632.2015.1099844, Repository URL:

    According to the House of Lords decision in Campbell v MGN Ltd, a misuse of private information claim may succeed even though public interest expression is at stake. The post-Campbell jurisprudence, however, does not reflect this central tenet. Cases are not determined by balancing the weight of each claim but by a binary approach in which claims succeed or fail depending on whether public interest expression is present or not. By charting this development, this article argues that a greater sense of proportionality would be achieved if cases were decided not by the quality of expression but by the harm caused by it. By re-imagining Campbell as a four-part test, it will show how the current paternalistic and idiosyncratic influences on decision-making may be reduced significantly.

  • Wragg PM, ‘Free speech rights at work: resolving the differences between practice and liberal principle’, Industrial Law Journal, 44.1 (2015), 1-28
    DOI: 10.1093/indlaw/dwu031, Repository URL:

    ACAS reports increasing disciplinary action against employees over expression that employers dislike. Given the prominence of social media in contemporary life this is a significant current legal issue yet one which has attracted relatively little academic comment. This paper examines the compatibility of unfair dismissal doctrine in this context with traditional liberal principle. Arguably, doctrine provides only flimsy protection. Although the common law recognises the importance of individual autonomy generally when determining rights claims this well-established liberal value appears to have little influence on unfair dismissal doctrine. The dominant academic view on realising greater workplace human rights protection through greater application of the proportionality principle is unlikely to address this problem; reconceptualization of the substantive free speech right at stake is required. This paper offers a strategy on how this might be achieved – and so how differences between practice and principle might be reconciled – through a sympathetic reading of the Strasbourg and UK jurisprudence and potential policy-maker intervention.

  • Wragg PM, ‘The legitimacy of press regulation’, Public Law, April (2015), 290-307
    Repository URL:

    This paper explores Lord Justice Leveson’s treatment of press freedom in his report on the culture and ethics of the press. It is less concerned with the particular conception that Leveson employs to justify his recommendations, more with the impression created that this conception is imperative and should be adopted by the prospective regulator. By exploring the case law and academic commentary, it will be argued that since Leveson’s model of press freedom is neither philosophically mandatory nor democratically mandated, his approach is unappealing. It will be argued that Leveson’s model of press freedom is a prospectively poor measure by which to judge future regulatory performance and should not be adopted by regulators when determining complaints.

  • Wragg PM, ‘Enhancing press freedom through greater privacy law: a UK perspective on an Australian privacy tort’, The Sydney Law Review, 36.4 (2014), 619-641
    Repository URL:

    In light of previous inquiries identifying areas of concern in Australia’s privacy law provisions, the Australian Law Reform Commission (‘ALRC’) recently devised a new tort that, if implemented, would better protect individuals from serious invasions of privacy. Although the tort was designed principally with new technologies in mind, there has been vociferous concern that such a tort might unduly inhibit press freedom. This response is familiar to United Kingdom (‘UK’) commentators who have seen the press, in particular, react similarly to common law developments in privacy law. Yet that experience has not been entirely unfavourable to the UK press; indeed, the jurisprudence discloses a generous treatment of the term ‘public interest’, which has kept interference with press activity to a minimum. In light of the reference to press freedom within the ALRC’s proposed tort, and given the absence of an express constitutional provision protecting Australian press speech, this article argues that the UK experience shows how, counterintuitively, the ALRC’s proposed tort could actually enhance, rather than diminish, press freedom protection in Australia.

  • Wragg PM, ‘Leveson's Vision for Press Reform: One Year On’, Communications Law, 19.1 (2014), 6-11

  • Wragg PM, ‘Leveson and Disproportionate Public Interest Reporting’, The Journal of Media Law, 5.2 (2013), 241-252

  • Wragg PM, ‘The Benefits of Privacy-Invading Expression’, Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 64.2 (2013), 187-208

  • Wragg PM, ‘Mill's Dead Dogma: the Value of Truth to Free Speech Jurisprudence’, Public Law 2013, 363-385

  • Wragg PM, ‘Time to End the Tyranny: Leveson and the Failure of the Fourth Estate’, Communications Law, 18.1 (2013), 11-20

  • Wragg PM, ‘Fickle Justice: Judicial Idiosyncrasy in UK Privacy Cases’, Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, 10.2 (2011), 139-153

    The protection of privacy in the UK has moved from a precarious position to something more real. From the burgeoning UK jurisprudence involving the privacy/free speech dichotomy settled principles are becoming discernible. However, by examining recent developments in the case law, it will be argued that despite these settled principles the predictability of claims remains in doubt. In particular, it is submitted, there is an apparent variance in judicial approach toward the pivotal question of ‘public interest’, which is at the heart of the balancing process. This issue animates the debate about the level of protection against privacy-invading speech that public figures enjoy. Inter alia, this paper will argue that the public interest element of the balancing process requires reassessment in two key respects. First, the definition of public figures requires refinement so that a narrower range of individuals are captured by it. Secondly, there ought to be closer alignment of the public interest test with the argument from participation in democratic society as deployed in the Strasbourg jurisprudence. In defence of recent developments, it will be argued that the broader approach to calculating the privacy interest so as to recognise familial interests is to be welcomed.

  • Wragg PM, ‘A Freedom to Criticise? Evaluating the Public Interest in Celebrity Gossip after Mosley and Terry’, Journal of Media Law, 2.2 (2010), 295-320

    Reviews decisions of the UK courts on the approach to the reporting of celebrity gossip, focusing on the definition of public interest and the extent to which gossip falls within its scope. Observes that the Queen's Bench Division rulings in Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd and LNS v Persons Unknown illustrate opposing views on the free speech value of celebrity gossip. Argues that the definition of public interest should not incorporate a freedom to criticise doctrine.

  • Wragg PM, ‘Free Speech is not Valued if only Valued Speech is Free: Connolly, Consistency and some Article 10 concerns’, European Public Law, 15.1 (2009), 111-132


  • Wragg PM, ‘Advertising, Free Speech and the Consumer’, in European Consumer Protection: Theory and Practice, ed. by Devenney J and Kenny M (UK: Cambridge University Press, [n.d.]), 313-335

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