Supermodel Naomi Campbell made a surprise appearance Wednesday in Britain’s House of Lords — the highest court in the land — as she launched a last-ditch legal battle over her right to privacy.
Wearing a pale turquoise pantsuit, she sat behind her lawyers as they challenged a lower court decision to strip her of damages she was awarded against a tabloid newspaper which revealed her struggle against drugs.
In March 2002, the 33-year-old model was awarded $5,700 after she sued the Daily Mirror for breaching her privacy by reporting, correctly, that she visited a Narcotics Anonymous clinic.
But last year the Appeal Court stripped her of the damages, along with thousands of dollars in court costs, saying the newspaper’s reporting was “justifiable in the public interest.”
Wednesday her legal team argued that individuals had the right to decide what information should be kept private.
Her lawyer Andrew Caldicott told the law lords that people had a right to maintain privacy of information essential to promote personal development and foster self-esteem.
“It can be said with confidence that the law recognizes and will appropriately protect a right of personal privacy,” he said.
The law lords have indicated the case revolves around whether, when it had been decided that the paper was entitled to publish the fact that Campbell had been addicted to drugs, the publication of details relating to nonmedical treatment she had received and a photograph of her leaving a treatment session constituted a breach of confidence or invasion of her privacy.
The other question to be decided is whether the Data Protection Act applied to publication of the Mirror article. The hearing is expected to last two days.