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Civil Liability for Invasion of Privacy
(HKLRC Consultation Paper)

This consultation paper was published by the Privacy sub-committee in 1999, together with the consultation paper on the regulation of media intrusion. It recommends that two new torts be created to protect the private life of individuals from unwarranted interference, namely, "invasion of privacy by intrusion upon the solitude or seclusion of another" and "invasion of privacy based on public disclosure of private facts".

Under the proposals, a person would be liable for the intrusion tort if he intentionally or recklessly intrudes upon the solitude or seclusion of another or into his private affairs. Anyone who gives publicity to a matter concerning the private life of another would be liable for the disclosure tort. However, as the sub-committee has noted that invasion of privacy may be warranted in certain circumstances, they recommended that there should be certain exceptions. There would therefore be no tort where the act was authorised in law; where the plaintiff consented to the act; or where the act was reasonably necessary for the protection of the person or the property of the defendant or another. Three defences were proposed to an action for "invasion of privacy based on public disclosure of private facts". These were that the disclosure would have been privileged according to the law of defamation; that the matter publicised could be found in the public domain through no fault of the defendant; or that the matter publicised was a matter of "legitimate concern" to the public.

Press Release (PDF) (MS Word)
Consultation Paper (PDF) (MS Word)

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