City Research Online

Privacy and a free press: locating the public interest

O'Callaghan, O. (2017). Privacy and a free press: locating the public interest. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The term “the public interest” is oft-cited but seldom defined. It is in essence both an umbrella term and a short-hand for a concept (or concepts) that we know we need to understand but have difficulty explaining. However, given both the prevalence and the importance of the concept to the law in specific disputes, confronting its essential nature becomes imperative to resolving those clashes. One such instance comes in the form of the conflict of privacy and a free press. One of the foremost legal problems of our time, the clash of Article 8 and Article 10 rights does not lend itself to simple resolutions given the frequency of what might be described as ‘intractable’ or ‘zero-sum’ cases – where both rights cannot be simultaneously realised to the satisfaction of the parties involved. This thesis therefore seeks to understand where the elusive ‘public interest’ lies in such cases. To do so it firstly examines where the public interest is located in each of the respective rights, and then how those rights are to be balanced. This thesis contends that it is not enough simply to understand the nature of the two rights which are being balanced, but that it is crucial to understand how the act of balancing itself impacts upon the outcome. All of this cannot be divorced from the wider social and political context in which the contest between conflicting rights takes place. This thesis therefore systematically examines each of these pieces of the puzzle to garner an in depth understanding of them individually and how they react with each other. This is done in order to produce a set tools – definitions, understandings, and conclusions – which can be applied to factual situations in order to illuminate the location of the public interest in conflicts between privacy and a free press.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: The City Law School
Doctoral Theses
The City Law School > The City Law School Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of O'Callaghan, Oliver.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Download (2MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login