Attorney General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No.1): HL 13 Aug 1987

A retired secret service officer intended to publish his memoirs through the defendant. The house heard an appeal against a temporary injunction restraining publication.
Held: Lord Bridge delivered his dissenting speech in the case of Spycatcher.
Lord Templeman said: ‘The question is . . whether the interference with freedom of expression constituted by the Millett injunctions was, on 30 July 1987 when they were continued by this House, necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, for protecting the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary having regard to the facts and circumstances prevailing on the 30 July 1987 and in the light of the events which had happened’.
Lord Oliver of Aylmerton said: ‘the liberty of the press is essential to the nature of a free state. The price that we pay is that that liberty may be and sometimes is harnessed to the carriage of liars and charlatans, but that cannot be avoided if the liberty is to be preserved.’

Lord Bridge of Harwich, Lord Brandon of Oakbrook, Lord Templeman, Lord Ackner, Lord Oliver of Aylmerton
[1987] UKHL 13, [1987] 1 WLR 1248, [1987] 3 All ER 316
European Convention on Human Rights 10
England and Wales
CitedSeager v Copydex Ltd CA 1967
Mr Seager had invented a patented carpet grip which he manufactured and marketed under the trade mark Klent. There were protracted negotiations between Mr Seager and Copydex over a proposal for Copydex to market the Klent. One of the issues in the . .

Cited by:
See AlsoAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedKelly (A Minor) v British Broadcasting Corporation FD 25-Jul-2000
K, aged 16, had left home to join what was said to be a religious sect. His whereabouts were unknown. He had been made a ward of court and the Official Solicitor was appointed to represent his interests. He had sent messages to say that he was well . .
CitedRe J (A Child) (Reporting Restriction: Internet: Video) FD 5-Sep-2013
‘This case raises important questions about the extent to which the public should be able to read and see what disgruntled parents say when they speak out about what they see as deficiencies in the family justice system, particularly when, as here, . .
See AlsoAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd QBD 1988
A Mr Peter Wright had written a book about his service in MI5. The Crown sought to restrain publication of the book by newspapers and also, as against The Sunday Times, an account of profits.
Held: As to this latter Scott J, said: ‘I had . .
See AlsoAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd CA 2-Jan-1988
A former employee of the Secret Service had written a book (‘Spycatcher’). The AG sought several remedies including damages against a newspaper for serialising it. Dillon LJ said: ‘It has seemed to me throughout the hearing of this appeal that there . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Media, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.248709