Greene 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 a prior restraint on publication unless it is clear that no defence will succeed at the trial. This is partly due to the importance the court attaches to freedom of speech. It is partly because a judge must not usurp the constitutional function of the jury unless he is satisfied that there is no case to go to a jury. The rule is also partly founded on the pragmatic grounds that until there has been disclosure of documents and cross-examination at the trial a court cannot safely proceed on the basis that what the defendants wish to say is not true. And if it is or might be true the court has no business to stop them saying it. ‘
Nothing in section 12(3) of the 1998 Act weakens the force of the rule in Bonnard v Perryman.
As to Human Rights, a person’s right to protect his or her reputation is amongst the rights guaranteed by Art 8. There were two rights in conflict. The court stressed the distinction between a defamation case (where the claimant’s right to a reputation has been put in issue and the issue cannot be effectively resolved before the trial) and a case which raises direct issues of privacy or confidentiality. Appeal dismissed.


Lord Justice Brooke VP, Lord Justice May, Lord Justice Dyson


[2004] EWCA Civ 1462, Times 10-Nov-2004, [2005] QB 972




Human Rights Act 1998 12(3)


England and Wales


CitedBonnard v Perryman CA 2-Jan-1891
Although the courts possessed a jurisdiction, ‘in all but exceptional cases’, they should not issue an interlocutory injunction to restrain the publication of a libel which the defence sought to justify except where it was clear that that defence . .
CitedCream 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 . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedHolley, SD and R Trading Limited, Henry Ansbacher and Co Limited, Ansbacher (Jersey) Limited v Smith CA 4-Dec-1997
The motive for a threatened publication, was not relevant, when considering whether to restrain publication beforehand. Sir Christopher Slade said: ‘I accept that the court may be left with a residual discretion to decline to apply the rule in . .
CitedWilliam Coulson and Sons v James Coulson and Co CA 1887
Lord Esher MR said: ‘It could not be denied that the court had jurisdiction to grant an interim injunction before trial. It was, however, a most delicate jurisdiction to exercise, because, though Fox’s Act only applied to indictments and . .
CitedFraser v Evans CA 1969
The law of confidence is based on the moral principles of loyalty and fair dealing. An injunction was sought to restrain an intended publication: ‘The court will not restrain the publication of an article, even though it is defamatory, when the . .
CitedBonnard v Perryman QBD 1891
The libel in issue was a very damaging one. Unless it could be justified at the trial it was one in which a jury would give the plaintiff ‘very serious damages’. The court was asked to grant an interlocutory injunction to restrain publication.
CitedHerbage v Pressdram Ltd CA 1984
There was a publication of articles which referred to convictions which were spent under the 1974 Act. The court restated the principle in Bonnard v Perryman: ‘These principles have evolved because of the value the court has placed on freedom of . .
CitedHerbage v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 30-Apr-1981
The principles in American Cyanamid did not affect the rule in Bonnard v Perryman. Sir Denys Buckley saiod: ‘the question what meaning the words complained of bore was primarily one for the jury. Suppose the words bore the second meaning alleged and . .
CitedPolly Peck PLC v Trelford CA 1986
The plaintiffs complained of the whole of one article and parts of two other articles published about them in The Observer. The defamatory sting was that Mr Asil Nadir (the fourth plaintiff) had deceived or negligently misled shareholders, . .
CitedKhashoggi v IPC Magazines Ltd CA 1986
The plaintiff sought to restrain the publication of an article. The defendants asserted that they would justify what they said at trial by reference to a Polly Peck defence, as to which: ‘I cannot see why the Bonnard v Perryman principle should not . .
CitedIn re F (otherwise A ) (A Minor) (Publication of Information) CA 1977
An allegation of contempt was made in proceedings related to the publication by a newspaper of extracts from a report by a social worker and a report by the Official Solicitor, both prepared after the commencement and for the purpose of the wardship . .
CitedBlack-Clawson International Ltd v Papierwerke Waldhof Aschaffenburg AG HL 5-Mar-1975
Statute’s Mischief May be Inspected
The House considered limitations upon them in reading statements made in the Houses of Parliament when construing a statute.
Held: It is rare that a statute can be properly interpreted without knowing the legislative object. The courts may . .
CitedRegina v Commissioner of Police for The Metropolis, ex parte Rottman HL 16-May-2002
The defendant had been arrested under an extradition warrant issued under the Act. The police had searched his premises, and found further evidence which was used to support the application for extradition. He challenged the collection and admission . .
CitedAffaire Radio France et autres v France ECHR 30-Mar-2004
A person’s right to protect his/her reputation is among the rights guaranteed by ECHR Article 8 as an element of the right to respect for private life. . .
CitedWainwright and another v Home Office HL 16-Oct-2003
The claimant and her son sought to visit her other son in Leeds Prison. He was suspected of involvement in drugs, and therefore she was subjected to strip searches. There was no statutory support for the search. The son’s penis had been touched . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedLonhro Plc and Others v Fayed and Others (No 5) CA 6-Oct-1993
The plaintiff sought to amend a conspiracy claim, based on arrangements to publish defamatory statements, by adding a claim for damage to reputation and feelings.
Held: Such a claim could not be made in conspiracy. A Plaintiff’s motives in . .
CitedObserver and Guardian v The United Kingdom ECHR 26-Nov-1991
The newspapers challenged orders preventing their publication of extracts of the ‘Spycatcher’ book.
Held: The dangers inherent in prior restraints are such that they call for the most careful scrutiny on the part of the court. This is . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .

Cited by:

CitedGeorge Galloway MP v Telegraph Group Ltd QBD 2-Dec-2004
The claimant MP alleged defamation in articles by the defendant newspaper. They claimed to have found papers in Iraqi government offices after the invasion of Iraq which implicated the claimant. The claimant said the allegations were grossly . .
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 . .
CitedBritish Broadcasting Corporation v CAFCASS Legal and others FD 30-Mar-2007
Parents of a child had resisted care proceedings, and now wished the BBC to be able to make a TV programme about their case. They applied to the court for the judgment to be released. Applications were also made to have a police officer’s and . .
CitedWestcott v Westcott QBD 30-Oct-2007
The claimant said that his daughter in law had defamed him. She answered that the publication was protected by absolute privilege. She had complained to the police that he had hit her and her infant son.
Held: ‘the process of taking a witness . .
CitedClift v Slough Borough Council and Another QBD 6-Jul-2009
The claimant sought damages for defamation. The council had decided that she had threatened a member of staff and notified various people, and entered her name on a violent persons register. She alleged malice, the council pleaded justification and . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 2-Oct-2009
The defendant had published a story in its newspaper. At that time it attracted Reynolds qualified privilege. After the circumstances changed, the paper offered an updating item. That offer was rejected as inadequate.
Held: The qualified . .
CitedRST v UVW QBD 11-Sep-2009
The applicant sought an interim and without notice injunction preventing the defendant from disclosing confidential information covered by an agreement between the parties.
Held: The order was made on a without notice application because there . .
CitedVaughan v London Borough of Lewisham and Others QBD 11-Apr-2013
The claimant sought an order to restrain anticipated defamatory comments and evidence to be given to an employment tribunal.
Held: It could not be said as the claimant asserted that dfeences were bound to fail, and no determination should be . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Media, Human Rights

Updated: 27 June 2022; Ref: scu.219207