The Paradise Papers investigation into the dubious tax schemes of the world’s wealthiest inhabitants involved 96 media organisations across 67 countries. Appleby, the offshore law firm at the heart of the story, has launched breach-of-confidence proceedings against just two: the Guardian and the BBC.
Appleby has not suggested that the stories about tax havens and abuses aren’t true. After a statement that it was “obliged to take legal action in order to ascertain what information has been stolen” it has made no further comment. So one can only surmise that Appleby rates its chances of convincing a British court to find in its favour.
With the bar for journalists to prove public interest in the UK higher than in many other jurisdictions, the case could prove a litmus test for the protections offered for genuine public interest journalism. All while other protections – exemptions