Cream Holdings Limited and others v Banerjee and others: HL 14 Oct 2004

On her dismissal from the claimant company, Ms Banerjee took confidential papers revealing misconduct to the local newspaper, which published some. The claimant sought an injunction to prevent any further publication. The defendants argued that the restraint which had been imposed infringed the human right of free speech. When the 1998 Act was brought in, Parliament intended that a higher standard of likelihood of success should be required for applications which would restrain the media.
Held: The appeal was allowed. There had to be some power in a court to make such restraints. Once confidentiality is lost, it is lost forever. The mechanics of litigation required a judge and if necessary an appeal court to read the papers without the case being prejudiced. Consequences of disclosure might be disproportionately severe to a claimant.
‘As with most ordinary English words ‘likely’ has several different shades of meaning. Its meaning depends upon the context in which it is being used’ and ‘These considerations indicate that ‘likely’ in section 12(3) cannot have been intended to mean ‘more likely than not’ in all situations.’
Flexibility was required. Lord Nicholls said: ‘Section 12(3) makes the likelihood of success at the trial an essential element in the court’s consideration of whether to make an interim order. But in order to achieve the necessary flexibility the degree of likelihood of success at the trial needed to satisfy section 12(3) must depend on the circumstances. There can be no single, rigid standard governing all applications for interim restraint orders. Rather, on its proper construction the effect of section 12(3) is that the court is not to make an interim restraint order unless satisfied the applicant’s prospects of success at the trial are sufficiently favourable to justify such an order being made in the particular circumstances of the case. As to what degree of likelihood makes the prospects of success ‘sufficiently favourable’, the general approach should be that courts will be exceedingly slow to make interim restraint orders where the applicant has not satisfied the court he will probably (‘more likely than not’) succeed at the trial. In general, that should be the threshold an applicant must cross before the court embarks on exercising its discretion, duly taking into account the relevant jurisprudence on article 10 and any countervailing Convention rights. But there will be cases where it is necessary for a court to depart from this general approach and a lesser degree of likelihood will suffice as a prerequisite. Circumstances where this may be so include those mentioned above: where the potential adverse consequences of disclosure are particularly grave, or where a short-lived injunction is needed to enable the court to hear and give proper consideration to an application for interim relief pending the trial or any relevant appeal.”
However, the judge had erred. ‘The ‘whistle blower’ provisions were intended to give additional protection to employees, not to cut down the circumstances where the public interest may justify private information being published at large.’

Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Woolf, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Scott of Foscote, Baroness Hale of Richmond
[2004] UKHL 44, [2004] 3 WLR 918, [2005] 1 AC 253, [2004] 4 All ER 617, 17 BHRC 464, [2004] UKHRR 1071, [2004] HRLR 39, [2005] EMLR 1
House of Lords, Bailii
Human Rights Act 1998 12(3)
England and Wales
Appeal fromCream Holdings Limited and others v Banerjee and The Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Limited CA 13-Feb-2003
The defendants considered publication of alleged financial irregularities by the claimant, who sought to restrain publication. The defendants argued that under the Act, prior restraint should not be used unless a later court would be likely to . .
CitedAmerican Cyanamid Co v Ethicon Ltd HL 5-Feb-1975
Interim Injunctions in Patents Cases
The plaintiffs brought proceedings for infringement of their patent. The proceedings were defended. The plaintiffs obtained an interim injunction to prevent the defendants infringing their patent, but they now appealed its discharge by the Court of . .
CitedIn re Primlaks (UK) Ltd 1989
A prerequisite to making an administration order under section 8(1) is that the court considers making such an order ‘would be likely to achieve’ one of the statutory purposes.
Held: This required the court to be satisfied there is a ‘prospect . .
CitedIn re H and R (Minors) (Child Sexual Abuse: Standard of Proof) HL 14-Dec-1995
Evidence allowed – Care Application after Abuse
Children had made allegations of serious sexual abuse against their step-father. He was acquitted at trial, but the local authority went ahead with care proceedings. The parents appealed against a finding that a likely risk to the children had still . .
CitedIn re Harris Simons Construction Limited ChD 1989
The section gives the court jurisdiction to make an administration order if it ‘(a) is satisfied that a company is or is likely to become unable to pay its debts’ and ‘(b) considers that the making of an order . . would be likely to achieve’ one or . .
At first InstanceCream Holdings Limited and others v Banerjee and The Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Limited 5-Jul-2002
The claimant sought an injunction to prevent further publication by the second defendants of confidential papers taken from them by the first defendant on her dismissal.
Held: An interlocutory injunction was granted prohibiting the defendants . .
CitedD Woodrup v London Borough of Southwark CA 2003
Simon Brown LJ said: ‘As will readily be seen, it provides (perhaps rather surprisingly) that someone is to be treated as disabled even though they are not in fact disabled (even, that is, where they suffer no substantial adverse effect on their . .

Cited by:
CitedGreene v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 5-Nov-2004
The claimant appealed against refusal of an order restraining publication by the respondent of an article about her. She said that it was based upon an email falsely attributed to her.
Held: ‘in an action for defamation a court will not impose . .
CitedUniversity of Oxford and others v Broughton and others QBD 10-Nov-2004
The claimants sought injunctions to protect themselves against the activities of animal rights protesters, including an order preventing them coming with a wide area around the village.
Held: The orders made were justified with the additional . .
CitedDouglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others (No 3) CA 18-May-2005
The principal claimants sold the rights to take photographs of their wedding to a co-claimant magazine (OK). Persons acting on behalf of the defendants took unauthorised photographs which the defendants published. The claimants had retained joint . .
CitedHall and others v Save Newchurch Guinea Pigs (Campaign) and others QBD 17-Mar-2005
The claimants ran a guinea pig farm. They and their neighbours applied for injunctions and an exclusion zone to keep away the defendants who campaigned against the breeding of animals for research.
Held: The claimants had been subjected to a . .
CitedE v Channel Four, News International Ltd and St Helens Borough Council FD 1-Jun-2005
The applicant sought an order restraining publication by the defendants of material, saying she did not have capacity to consent to the publication. She suffered a multiple personality disorder. She did herself however clearly wish the film to be . .
CitedBritish Broadcasting Company v Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council and X and Y FD 24-Nov-2005
Application was made by the claimant for orders discharging an order made in 1991 to protect the identity of children and social workers embroiled in allegations of satanic sex abuse. The defendant opposed disclosure of the names of two social . .
CitedNorfolk County Council v Webster and others FD 1-Nov-2006
The claimants wished to claim that they were victims of a miscarriage of justice in the way the Council had dealt with care proceedings. They sought that the proceedings should be reported without the children being identified.
Held: A judge . .
CitedX and Y v Persons Unknown QBD 8-Nov-2006
The claimants sought an injunction against unknown persons who were said to have divulged confidential matters to newspapers. The order had been served on newspapers who now complained that the order was too uncertain to allow them to know how to . .
CitedLord Browne of Madingley v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 3-Apr-2007
The appellant sought to restrict publication by the defendants in the Mail on Sunday of matters which he said were a breach of confidence. He had lied to a court in giving evidence, whilst at the same time being ready to trash the reputation of his . .
CitedBoehringer Ingelheim Ltd and others v Vetplus Ltd CA 20-Jun-2007
The claimants appealed refusal of an order restricting comparative advertising materials for the defendant’s competing veterinary medicine. The claimant said that the rule against prior restraint applicable to defamation and other tort proceedings . .
CitedLong Beach Ltd and Another v Global Witness Ltd QBD 26-Jul-2007
The claimants asked the court to withhold from publication reference to documents and a judgment between the parties in Hong Kong, which it said were confidential, and which the court in Hong Kong had protected.
Held: The request was not . .
CitedNapier and Another v Pressdram Ltd CA 19-May-2009
The claimant solicitors appealed against the refusal to grant them an injunction to prevent the publication of the outcome of a complaint against them to the Law society, and of the Ombudsman’s report. They said that the material remained . .
CitedThe Author of A Blog v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 16-Jun-2009
The claimant, the author of an internet blog (‘Night Jack’), sought an order to restrain the defendant from publishing his identity.
Held: To succeed, the claimant would have to show that there would be a legally enforceable right to maintain . .
CitedBarclays Bank Plc v Guardian News Media Ltd QBD 19-Mar-2009
The bank sought continuation of an injunction preventing publication by the defendant of papers leaked to relating to the claimant’s tax management. The claimant claimed in confidentiality. The papers did not reveal any unlawful activity. The . .
CitedBritish Broadcasting Corporation v Harpercollins Publishers Ltd and Another ChD 4-Oct-2010
The claimant sought an injunction and damages to prevent the defendant publishing a book identifying himself as ‘the Stig’ saying that this broke his undertaking of confidentialty as to his identity, a necessary part of the character in the TV . .
CitedCTB v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another (1) QBD 16-May-2011
A leading footballer had obtained an injunction restraining the defendants from publishing his identity and allegations of sexual misconduct. The claimant said that she had demanded money not to go public.
Held: It had not been suggested that . .
CitedGoodwin v NGN Ltd and VBN QBD 9-Jun-2011
The claimant had obtained an injunction preventing publication of his name and that of his coworker with whom he had had an affair. After widespread publication of his name elsewhere, the defendant had secured the discharge of the order as regards . .
CitedMcClaren v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 5-Sep-2012
The claimant had obtained an interim injunction to restrain the defendant publishing what he said was private information about a sexual encounter. He also sought an injunction under the 1997 Act.
Held: The claim succeeded: ‘there have been . .
CitedQRS v Beach and Another QBD 26-Sep-2014
The court gave its reasons for granting an interim injunction to prevent the defendants publshing materials on their web-sites which were said to harrass the claimants.
Held: Whilst it was important to protect the identity of the claimants, . .
CitedA v British Broadcasting Corporation (Scotland) SC 8-May-2014
Anonymised Party to Proceedings
The BBC challenged an order made by the Court of Session in judicial review proceedings, permitting the applicant review to delete his name and address and substituting letters of the alphabet, in the exercise (or, as the BBC argues, purported . .
CitedSea Shepherd UK v Fish and Fish Ltd SC 4-Mar-2015
Accessory Liability in Tort
The court considered the concept of accessory liability in tort. Activists had caused damage to vessels of the respondent which was transporting live tuna in cages, and had caused considerable damage. The appellant company owned the ship from which . .
CitedHeythrop Zoological Gardens Ltd (T/A Amazing Animals) and Another v Captive Animals Protection Society ChD 20-May-2016
The claimant said that the defendant had, through its members visiting their premises, breached the licence under which they entered, by taking photographs and distributing them on the internet, and in so doing also infringing the performance rights . .
CitedOPO v MLA and Another QBD 18-Jul-2014
A boy now sought an interim injunction to restrain his father, the defendant classical musician, from publishing his autobiography which mentioned him. The book would say that the father had suffered sexual abuse as a child at school.
Held: . .
CitedRhodes v OPO and Another SC 20-May-2015
The mother sought to prevent a father from publishing a book about her child’s life. It was to contain passages she said may cause psychological harm to the 12 year old son. Mother and son lived in the USA and the family court here had no . .
CitedLachaux v Independent Print Ltd (1) CA 12-Sep-2017
Defamation – presumption of damage after 2013 Act
The claimant said that the defendant had published defamatory statements which were part of a campaign of defamation brought by his former wife. The court now considered the requirement for substantiality in the 2013 Act.
Held: The defendant’s . .
CitedWillers v Joyce and Another (Re: Gubay (Deceased) No 2) SC 20-Jul-2016
The Court was asked whether and in what circumstances a lower court may follow a decision of the Privy Council which has reached a different conclusion from that of the House of Lords (or the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal) on an earlier occasion. . .
CitedGerrard and Another v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Ltd and Another QBD 27-Nov-2020
The claimants, a solicitor and his wife, sought damages in harassment and data protection, against a party to proceedings in which he was acting professionally, and against the investigative firm instructed by them. The defendants now requested the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Media, Intellectual Property

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.216435