8th January 2018

Can’t Pay We’ll Take it Away: Hamlins first to bring privacy claim against Channel 5’s TV programme

By Christopher Hutchings

Reality TV makers set to be under greater scrutiny regarding invasion of privacy as landmark case set for Trial in High Court in London

A landmark case, which will ultimately determine the rights and freedom of reality TV makers in the UK, has been given the green light to go to a full Trial on 5 February 2018.

Channel 5 who make the reality TV programme “Can’t Pay We’ll Take it Away” are being sued for invasion of privacy by a married couple who were filmed being evicted from the inside of their home.

The husband was not fully dressed, on crutches and in a vulnerable state due to ongoing medical treatment, at the onset of filming. The couple also claim that they were being verbally baited and humiliated by the landlord’s son and that the programme makers showed no regard to their right to privacy and personal dignity.

The programme  follows the work of High Court Enforcement Officers (also known as Sheriff’s Officers) as they execute High Court writs up and down the country, on those who have failed to make repayments on a debt or refuse to vacate a property.

In a High Court hearing last May (19 May), Channel 5 argued the couple’s right to privacy was lost since they were in the process of being lawfully evicted. Channel 5 also made the alternative case that the couple’s right to privacy was outweighed by the right to broadcast the programme because it was in the public interest due to the informative nature of its programme.

However, the Court dismissed the broadcaster’s Application for summary judgment and has allowed the case to proceed to a full Trial on 5 February 2018.

Christopher Hutchings, a media partner at law firm Hamlins and representing the couple in all legal proceedings adds:

“This case not only shines a light on the actions of the programme makers of Can’t Pay, We’ll Take it Away but will set a precedent as to what is considered a broadcasters’ right to freedom of expression”  and what is a blatant intrusion into privacy and fundamental human rights.”

For other coverage see:

The Guardian:

For further details of this please contact media partner Chris Hutchings on 020 7355 6000 or email


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