Max Mosley claims a change in the law could have removed the need for John Terry to obtain a super-injunction to prevent the disclosure of damaging allegations about his private life.
Mosley, the former FIA president, received £60,000 in damages from the News of the World in 2008 after the newspaper published allegations about him, and is now pushing for a change in the law at European level to protect the privacy of individuals.
The 69-year-old has applied to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in an effort to challenge existing privacy laws – a move which could see newspapers required to pre-warn any individuals who are to be the subject of a story.
Mosley believes such an amendment to the law could have been of benefit to Terry, whose injunction to prevent publication of allegations of an affair with the ex-partner of former Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge was lifted at the High Court in London last Friday.
“I read the [High Court] judgment but the real difficulty there was that the judge never had the opportunity to hear both sides,” Mosley told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“The original application [for an injunction] was in the absence of any respondent because he [Terry] didn’t know it was the News of the World.
“That’s why I think it’s so important that there should be this obligation on editors to notify you. Then you can go to court but the paper can come and put their side of the case.
“If that had been done originally in the John Terry case, I don’t know which way it would have gone, but it would have been properly heard rather than very vague.
“The whole thing was a muddle because there wasn’t a respondent.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mosley questioned the need for newspapers to expose details of the private lives of public individuals.
“They go to endless lengths to stop the victim finding out it’s going to happen,” he said.
“I cannot see why there is any real public interest in knowing whether John Terry has had an affair with somebody and if so, with whom.”
He added to Radio 5 Live: “It’s just so unpleasant. If it affected his position in the [England] team, it is a matter for the manager.
“But what people tend to overlook is the awful effect of this sort of thing on the families and on the individuals.
“It’s all very well to say they shouldn’t do it. The fact is people do do these things.
“The question is whether it should be made public.”
Mosley conceded, however, that there were occasions when it was in the public interest for such stories to be published.
He said: “There are certain circumstances, particularly where it directly affects the job of a public figure. In that case, yes.
“If you muddle up your private sex life with your work life, then at that point it becomes really quite arguable that it is a matter of public interest.
“That, of course, is the argument in the Terry case, where they say it might interfere with his work as a footballer. But the counter-argument to that is that you don’t really need the public to know about that.
“Provided the public figure keeps what they do in their private sex life completely separate from their work, then I think there can be no reason to expose them.”