Coogan v News Group Newspapers Ltd etc: CA 1 Feb 2012

The claimants said that their voicemail accounts had been hacked by one defendant on behalf of the other. They sought discovery of records, and the defendants argued for the benefit of the privilege against self incrimination.
Lord Neuberger MR discussed the use of the privilege against self incrimination (‘PSI’), saying: ‘I would take this opportunity to express my support for the view that PSI has had its day in civil proceedings, provided that its removal is made subject to a provision along the lines of section 72(3). Whether or not one has that opinion, however, it is undoubtedly the case that, save to the extent that it has been cut down by statute, PSI remains part of the common law, and that it is for the legislature, not the judiciary, to remove it, or to cut it down.’
and as to section 72: ‘The purpose of section 72 is self-evidently to remove PSI in certain types of case, namely those described in section 72(2). While there have been significant judicial observations doubting the value of PSI in civil proceedings, it would be wrong to invoke them to support an artificially wide interpretation of the expression, as it is clear that Parliament has decided that section 72 should contain only a limited exception from the privilege. On the other hand, in the light of the consistent judicial questioning as to whether PSI is still appropriate in civil proceedings, it would be rather odd for a court to interpret such a provision narrowly. Further, the fact that PSI is an important common law right does not persuade me that the expression should be given a particularly narrow meaning.’


Lord Neuberger MR


[2012] EWCA Civ 48, [2012] 2 WLR 84, [2012] EMLR 14, [2012] 2 All ER 74




Senior Courts Act 1981 72


England and Wales


Appeal fromPhillips v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd and Others ChD 17-Nov-2010
The claimant had been assistant to a well known publicist. The defendant had settled an action brought by her principal for hacking his mobile telephone, in the course of which it appeared that the claimant’s phone had also been hacked. She now . .
Appeal fromGray v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another; Coogan v Same ChD 25-Feb-2011
The claimants said that agents of the defendant had unlawfully accessed their mobile phone systems. The court was now asked whether the agent (M) could rely on the privilege against self incrimination, and otherwise as to the progress of the case. . .
CitedSaunders v The United Kingdom ECHR 17-Dec-1996
(Grand Chamber) The subsequent use against a defendant in a prosecution, of evidence which had been obtained under compulsion in company insolvency procedures was a convention breach of Art 6. Although not specifically mentioned in Article 6 of the . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromPhillips v Mulcaire SC 24-May-2012
The claimant worked as personal assistant to a well known public relations company. She alleged that the defendant had intercepted telephone message given by and left for her. The court was asked first as to whether the information amounted to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Media

Updated: 04 October 2022; Ref: scu.450528