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Civil Litigation Solicitors

Channel 5 and DCBL pay significant damages for misuse of private information after filming our clients and broadcasting worldwide (24 November 2021)

Date: 24/11/2021
Duncan Lewis, Civil Litigation Solicitors, Channel 5 and DCBL pay significant damages for misuse of private information after filming our clients and broadcasting worldwide

In 2017 two High Court Enforcement Agents (‘HCEAs’) attended our client’s flat. The HCEAs were either employees and/or acting as agents for DCBL Limited. They attended with a film crew instructed by Channel 5, who had commissioned them to make TV programmes known under the title Can't Pay? We'll Take it Away! The HCEAs attended not only to recover a debt for unpaid parking fines but to also secretly film the events on their bodycams for broadcast by Channel 5.

During the events which took place in our client’s flat, her brother arrived at her request in order to assist her. Neither of them knew that they were being surreptitiously filmed for the purpose of broadcasting the relevant footage to the world at large.

The bodycams recorded everything which took place in the flat over several hours. The film showed our client in a highly distressed state, she was panicking and in tears, discussing her financial problems, her house was exposed, and her brother was seen making part-payment on her behalf for the unpaid parking fines. Moreover, the footage clearly showed our female client with her hair exposed, which is unacceptable in her culture as she would normally not be seen in public with her hair exposed because of her Muslim/cultural background.

Our client’s brother spoke to the film crew and informed them that he and his sister did not consent to the filming. Unfortunately, he was ignored and the film crew continued filming.

Our client and her brother wrote to Channel 5 after the bailiffs had left and informed Channel 5 that they did not want any of their information, private or otherwise, to be broadcast. It was made clear that it would upset both of them but particularly our female client who was extremely fearful of having her private information exposed to the world at large. However, their concerns regarding their private information were yet again ignored.

Upon instructing the litigation team at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, leading counsel was appointed and pleadings were settled on the basis that our clients had a reasonable expectation that their private information would not be broadcast in the way it was.

DCBL's liability arose from the fact that it created the film which was used in the broadcast of the programme. Channel 5's liability arose from the fact that it broadcast the programme.

Channel 5 and DCBL eventually settled the claim before proceedings were issued and paid damages to our clients including their legal costs.

Representation: Commercial and Civil Litigation solicitor Karolina Natkaniec.

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