UK Ministry of Justice releases statistics on privacy injunctions January to June 2013

September 20, 2013 |

As the ALRC (further) inquiry proceeds on at a relatively relaxed pace on whether there should or should not be a statutory right to privacy and if so what form it should take the UK jurisprudence has developed to the point where there are established principles governing the grant of injunction on privacy related matters.  The grant of super injunctions caused considerable controversy and disquiet in the media.  More importantly there was concern about their efficacy and enforcement. The process has been amended signficiantly and the Court has been more restrained in its use.  The use of privacy injunctions are now  more effective and less controversial.

Notable featurs of the report are that there were

  • six proceedings in which the High Court in London considered an application for a new interim injunction prohibiting the publication of private or confidential information.
  • two proceedings in which the Hi gh Court considered whether to continue or amend an interim injunction.
  • One proceeding in which the High Court considered whether to issue a final permanent injunction.
  • no proceedings in which the Court of Appeal heard an appeal against a grant or refusal of an interim or final injunction.
In relation to the 6 new interim injunctions:

  • 3 provided for the hearings in the case to be held in private;
  • 3 gave anonymity to one or more of the parties involved;all placed restrictions on access to court documents;
  • 5 placed restrictions on the provision of court documents to thirdparties;
  • none had a super-injunction or reporting restriction clause, which prevented publication of the fact that court proceedings had taken place or that an injunction was in existence.

The Guardian covered the report in Courts see rise in applications for privacy injunctions, stating:

There has been a rise in the number of privacy injunctions being sought in the courts, according to figures released by the Ministry of Justice.

Six new orders were granted by the high court between January and June this year, enabling hearings to take place in private, restricting access to court documents or ensuring anonymity for those involved.

Four of the injunctions were sought by men, one by a woman and the other one involved several claimants. In the previous six months, only three new applications were made, all of which were granted.

The figures emerge from the latest survey of privacy injunctions, a statistical record begun after public concern two years ago over the number of superinjunctions made by the courts to protect the identity of wealthy applicants, including footballers, or suppress allegations against them. At that stage no central record was kept of the number of injunctions granted.

None of the six new privacy injunctions recorded by the courts in the past six months were superinjunctions – the most secretive court orders whose existence cannot even be reported.

They relate to data protection and rights to respect for private and family life protected by article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Some are injunctions sought by an individual, others by public bodies or firms.

Over the last six months, the MoJ figures show, the courts did confirm one existing superinjunction “which prevented publication of the fact that court proceedings had taken place or that an injunction was in existence”.


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