CTB v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Thomas (2): QBD 23 May 2011

The claimant had obtained a privacy injunction, but the name of the claimant had nevertheless been widey distributed on the Internet. The defendant newspaper now sought to vary the terms. The second defendant did not oppose the injunction. Additionally the claimant said that given that the defendant claimed to have clean hands in the matter, it should provide disclosure of dicuments which might support or undermine that claim.
Held: The applications failed. That the defendant still wanted to pubish the story was itself evidence that there remained some privacy to protect, and: ‘the right question for me to ask . . is whether there is a solid reason why the Claimant’s identity should be generally revealed in the national media, such as to outweigh the legitimate interests of himself and his family in maintaining anonymity. The answer is as yet in the negative. They would be engulfed in a cruel and destructive media frenzy. Sadly, that may become unavoidable in the society in which we now live but, for the moment, in so far as I am being asked to sanction it, I decline to do so.’
The defendant having reduced its ‘clean hands’ claim to one of there being no evidence to contradict it, detailed disclosure remained unnecessary at this stage. The court also bore in mind that such a search might reveal criminal attempts to undermine the court order, and this would require consideration of the laws against requiring self-incrimination.
Eady considered the argument that the information was already in the public domain: ‘one reason why it can be important to distinguish between the was the law approaches public domain arguments in relation to commercial or state secrets, for example, and that which is appropriate to personal information. It also largely explains why it is the case that the truth of falsity of the allegations in question can often be irrelevant: see e.g. McKennitt v Ash [2008] QB 73 . . It is fairly obvious that wall-to-wall excoriation in national newspapers . . is likely to be significantly more intrusive and distressing for those concerned than the availability of information on the internet or in foreign journals to those, however many, who take the trouble to look it up. Moreover, with each exposure of personal information or allegations, whether by way of visual images or verbally, there is a new intrusion and occasion for distress or embarrassment . . For so long as the court is in a position to prevent some of that intrusion and distress, depending on individual circumstances, it may be appropriate to maintain that degree of protection. The analogy with King Canute to some extent, therefore, breaks down.’

Eady J
[2011] EWHC 1326 (QB)
England and Wales
CitedCobra Golf Inc and Another v Rata and Others ChD 11-Oct-1996
An Anton Piller order was wrongfully made where it was used in order to get information to found a later prosecution. The privilege against self incrimination is available under Section 14 of the 1968 Act in contempt proceedings despite the fact . .
CitedDendron Gmbh and others v Regents of University of California and Another PatC 23-Mar-2004
The claimants sought letters of request to obtain evidence to support applications they wished to make, including onme before the European Patents Office.
Held: The EPO when involved in opposition proceedings was not a domestic court, and . .
CitedAttorney-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 . .
See AlsoCTB 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 . .

Cited by:
CitedCTB v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another (3) QBD 23-May-2011
The defendant applied to be released from an injunction protecting the claimant’s privacy. It said that the claimant’s identity had been revealed on Twitter and now by a member of parliament in parliament.
Held: The application was refused. . .
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 . .
CitedHutcheson (Formerly Known As ‘KGM’) v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Others CA 19-Jul-2011
The claimant appealed against the refusal of a privacy order, protecting his identity in his claim.
Held: The appeal was refused. That Article 8 was ‘engaged’ was not conclusive of the question whether the claimant enjoyed a reasonable . .
CitedIn re A (A Minor) FD 8-Jul-2011
An application was made in care proceedings for an order restricting publication of information about the family after the deaths of two siblings of the child subject to the application. The Sun and a local newspaper had already published stories . .
CitedPJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd SC 19-May-2016
The appellants had applied for restrictions on the publication of stories about their extra marital affairs. The Court of Appeal had removed the restrictions on the basis that the story had been widely spread outside the jurisdiction both on the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Media, Human Rights, Litigation Practice

Updated: 12 January 2022; Ref: scu.440085