Compensation Paid Out For Filmed Eviction On Television

Compensation Paid Out For Filmed Eviction On Television

We live in a society where freedom of speech is important to the media which it believes enables it to report events that could be regarded as in the public interest, however should that override a person’s right to privacy? The following case highlights a couple who were awarded £20,000 damages because a television company had been deemed to infringe these rights during their eviction from their home.

The couple got into rent arrears and through due process a court issued a repossession order, the landlord acted within his rights and asked High Court Enforcement Agents to carry out the eviction. On arrival at the property they were accompanied by a television crew, the couple had no advance notice of this and the eviction process was aired on television to approx. 9.5 million people nationally. The man was shown as the tenant from hell and the woman as cantankerous.

The High Court agreed that the couple’s Human Rights had been disregarded in terms of privacy and right to family life. The filming was live with the couple dealing with a stressful and distressing short-notice eviction.

The objective for the television company was to create ‘good television’ so the distress and response of the couple which, while it enabled public debate on the issues, overstepped the mark of freedom of expression and the television company was ordered to pay compensation of £10,000 to each of them.