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Common law no right to privacy

The Telegraph reports:

A woman who was strip-searched when she went to visit her son in jail asked five law lords yesterday to create a new law of personal privacy. Lawyers for Mary Wainwright, 49, from Leeds, hope the House of Lords will overturn decisions by lower courts that there is no right to privacy in English common law.

Mrs Wainwright visited her elder son Patrick at Armley Prison, Leeds, in January 1997. She was accompanied by her younger son, Alan, who suffers from cerebral palsy with a degree of mental impairment. Before the visit could go ahead, Mrs Wainwright and Alan were strip-searched for concealed drugs. The searches were more intrusive than was permitted by prison guidelines.

A judge in Leeds decided that their privacy had been infringed but this ruling was overturned by the Court of Appeal in December 2001. Three judges, headed by the Lord Chief Justice, held that there was no right to personal privacy in English law.

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