Imutran Ltd v Uncaged Campaigns Ltd and Another: ChD 11 Jan 2001

The test for whether an interim injunction should be granted restraining publication of material claimed to be confidential, where such a grant would infringe the right to freedom of expression was slightly different under the 1998 Act. The established test was whether the claimant had a real prospect of succeeding at trial in restraining publication, but the new test was whether he was likely to do so. Nevertheless the difference was so small as to make any calculation fruitless.
The court was asked to restrain the publication of confidential documents, and the effect of the section. The defendants argued that the requirement of likelihood imposed a higher standard than that formulated in American Cyanamid, but the claimant said that his case satisfied whatever the standard was applied. Theoretically and as a matter of language likelihood is slightly higher in the scale of probability than a real prospect of success. But the difference between the two is small. The court could not imagine many (if any) cases which would have succeeded under the American Cyanamid test but will now fail because of the terms of section 12(3). The court applied the test of likelihood without any further consideration of how much more probable that now has to be.
Sir Andrew Morritt set out the approach to be taken: ‘Of course, the defendants’ right to freedom of expression is an element in their democratic right to campaign for the abolition of all animal xenotransplantation or other experimentation. But they may continue to do that whether the injunction sought by Imutran is granted or not. The issue is whether they should be free to do so with Imutran’s confidential and secret documents. Many of those documents are of a specialist and technical nature suitable for consideration by specialists in the field but not by the public generally. Given the provisos to the injunction sought there would be no restriction on the ability of the defendants to communicate the information to those specialists connected with the regulatory bodies denoted by Parliament as having special responsibility in the field.’


Sir Andrew Morritt


Times 30-Jan-2001, Gazette 05-Apr-2001, [2001] EWHC Ch 31, [2001] 2 All ER 385, [2002] FSR 2, [2001] HRLR 31, [2001] EMLR 21, [2001] CP Rep 28, [2001] ECDR 16




Human Rights Act 1998 12(3)


England and Wales


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 . .

Cited by:

ApprovedA v B plc and Another (Flitcroft v MGN Ltd) CA 11-Mar-2002
A newspaper company appealed against an order preventing it naming a footballer who, they claimed, had been unfaithful to his wife.
Held: There remains a distinction between the right of privacy which attaches to sexual activities within and . .
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 . .
CitedTheakston v MGN Ltd QBD 14-Feb-2002
The claimant, a celebrity sought to restrain publication by the defendant of information about his sex life, consisting of pictures of him in a brothel. The court considered the test for the grant of an injunction to restrain publication under the . .
CitedCream 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 . .
CitedBains and Others v Moore and Others QBD 15-Feb-2017
The claimant anti-asbestos campaigners complained that the defendant investigators had infringed their various rights of privacy. They now sought discovery to support the claim.
Held: the contents of the witness statements do show that it is . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Intellectual Property, Human Rights, Media

Updated: 23 May 2022; Ref: scu.135620