In re Guardian News and Media Ltd and Others; HM Treasury v Ahmed and Others: SC 27 Jan 2010

Proceedings had been brought to challenge the validity of Orders in Council which had frozen the assets of the claimants in those proceedings. Ancillary orders were made and confirmed requiring them not to be identified. As the cases came to the Supreme Court, applications were also now made to lift the anonymity orders.
Held: The orders against identifying the applicants were lifted. ‘M’s private and family life are interests which must be respected. On the other side, publication of a report of the proceedings, including a report identifying M, is a matter of general, public interest. Applying Lord Hoffmann’s formulation, the question for the court accordingly is whether there is sufficient general, public interest in publishing a report of the proceedings which identifies M to justify any resulting curtailment of his right and his family’s right to respect for their private and family life.’ and ‘when carrying out the ultimate test of balancing all the factors relating to both M’s article 8 rights and the article 10 rights of the press, we have come to the conclusion that there is indeed a powerful general, public interest in identifying M in any report of these important proceedings which justifies curtailment, to that extent, of his, and his family’s, article 8 Convention rights to respect for their private and family life.’
Lord Rodger considered the need for editors rather than judges to decide what is published: ‘What’s in a name? ‘A lot’, the press would answer. This is because stories about particular individuals are simply much more attractive to readers than stories about unidentified people. It is just human nature. And this is why, of course, even when reporting major disasters, journalists usually look for a story about how particular individuals are affected. Writing stories which capture the attention of readers is a matter of reporting technique, and the European Court holds that article 10 protects not only the substance of ideas and information but also the form in which they are conveyed: News Verlags GmbH and Co KG v Austria [2001) 31 EHRR 8 . . This is not just a matter of deference to editorial independence. The judges are recognising that editors know best how to present material in a way that will interest the readers of their particular publication and so help them to absorb the information. A requirement to report it in some austere, abstract form, devoid of much of its human interest, could well mean that the report would not be read and the information would not be passed on. Ultimately, such an approach could threaten the viability of newspapers and magazines, which can only inform the public if they attract enough readers and make enough money to survive.’
Lord Rodger of Earlsferry spoke as to the publication of the names of defendants in advance of criminal trials: ‘In allowing this, the law proceeds on the basis that most members of the public understand that, even when charged with an offence, you are innocent unless and until proved guilty in a court of law. That understanding can be expected to apply, a fortiori, if you are someone whom the prosecuting authorities are not even in a position to charge with an offence and bring to court.’
The public interest in the administration of justice may be sufficiently served as far as lawyers are concerned by a discussion which focusses on the issues and ignores the personalities, but: ‘the target audience of the press is likely to be different and to have a different interest in the proceedings, which will not be satisfied by an anonymised version of the judgment. In the general run of cases there is nothing to stop the press from supplying the more full-blooded account which their readers want.’

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood and Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore
[2010] UKSC 1, Times 28-Jan-2010, UKSC 2009/0016, [2010] 2 WLR 325, [2010] WLR (D) 13, [2010] EMLR 15, [2010] 2 All ER 799, [2010] UKHRR 181, [2010] HRLR 14, [2010] 2 AC 697
Bailii, Bailii, SC, SC Summ, Bailii Summary, WLRD
European Convention on Human Rights 8 810, Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedLeander v Sweden ECHR 26-Mar-1987
Mr Leander had been refused employment at a museum located on a naval base, having been assessed as a security risk on the basis of information stored on a register maintained by State security services that had not been disclosed him. Mr Leander . .
CitedPetrincova v Slovakia ECHR 8-Dec-2009
. .
CitedScharsach and News Verlagsgesellschaft v Austria ECHR 13-Nov-2003
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 10 ; Pecuniary damage – financial award (second applicant) ; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award (first applicant) ; Non-pecuniary damage – . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference No 3 of 1999: Application By the British Broadcasting Corporation To Set Aside or Vary a Reporting Restriction Order HL 17-Jun-2009
An application was made to discharge an anonymity order made in previous criminal proceedings before the House. The defendant was to be retried for rape under the 2003 Act, after an earlier acquittal. The applicant questioned whether such a order . .
CitedKarako v Hungary ECHR 28-Apr-2009
In an election campaign an opponent of the claimant politician had said in a flyer that he was in the habit of putting the interests of his electors second. The applicant accused his opponent of criminal libel, but the prosecutor’s office terminated . .
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 . .
CitedVon Hannover v Germany ECHR 24-Jun-2004
Princess Caroline of Monaco who had, at some time, received considerable attention in the media throughout Europe, complained at the publication of photographs taken of her withour her permission.
Held: There was no doubt that the publication . .
CitedPfeifer v Austria ECHR 15-Nov-2007
The right to protect one’s honour and reputation is to be treated as falling within the protection of Article 8: ‘a person’s reputation, even if that person is criticised in the context of a public debate, forms part of his or her personal identity . .
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 . .
CitedEntick v Carrington KBD 1765
The Property of Every Man is Sacred
The King’s Messengers entered the plaintiff’s house and seized his papers under a warrant issued by the Secretary of State, a government minister.
Held: The common law does not recognise interests of state as a justification for allowing what . .
See AlsoHM Treasury v Ahmed and Others SC 27-Jan-2010
The claimants objected to orders made freezing their assets under the 2006 Order, after being included in the Consolidated List of suspected members of terrorist organisations.
Held: The orders could not stand. Such orders were made by the . .

Cited by:
CitedA v Independent News and Media Ltd and Others CA 31-Mar-2010
The newspapers sought leave to report proceedings before the Court of Protection in connection with a patient unable to manage his own affairs. The patient retained a possible capacity to work as a professional musician. The family wanted the . .
CitedSecretary of State for The Home Department v AP (No. 2) SC 23-Jun-2010
The claimant had object to a Control order made against him and against a decision that he be deported. He had been protected by an anonymity order, but the Court now considered whether it should be continued.
Held: AP had already by the . .
CitedAMM v HXW QBD 7-Oct-2010
amm_hxwQBD10
The claimant had sought and been granted an injunction to prevent the defendant publicising matters which had passed between them and which were he said private.
Held: The jurisdiction to grant such injunctions was now established. Publication . .
CitedJIH v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 5-Nov-2010
The court was asked as to the circumstances under which the identity of a claimant should be protected in an action where he sought to restrain the publication of private information about him.
Held: Tugendhat J accepted the proposition . .
CitedGoldsmith and Another v BCD QBD 22-Mar-2011
The claimants sought damages, alleging that the defendants had hacked into their e-mail accounts. The defendant now sought protection of her identity through anonymisation of the case.
Held: Granted. . .
CitedKambadzi (previously referred to as SK (Zimbabwe)) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 25-May-2011
False Imprisonment Damages / Immigration Detention
The respondent had held the claimant in custody, but had failed to follow its own procedures. The claimant appealed against the rejection of his claim of false imprisonment. He had overstayed his immigration leave, and after convictions had served a . .
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 . .
CitedA and Another v Somerset County Council QBD 11-Oct-2012
Appeal against refusal of order for pre-action disclosure. . .
CitedHannon and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another ChD 16-May-2014
The claimants alleged infringement of their privacy, saying that the defendant newspaper had purchased private information from police officers emplyed by the second defendant, and published them. The defendants now applied for the claims to be . .
CitedMX v Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and Others CA 17-Feb-2015
Application was made for approval of a compromise of a claim for damages for personal injury for the child. The court now considered whether an order should be made to protect the identity of the six year old claimant.
Held: An order should . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedPNM v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others SC 19-Jul-2017
No anonymity for investigation suspect
The claimant had been investigated on an allegation of historic sexual abuse. He had never been charged, but the investigation had continued with others being convicted in a high profile case. He appealed from refusal of orders restricting . .
CitedRegina (on the application of C) v Secretary of State for Justice SC 27-Jan-2016
The applicant was a convicted murderer who had been held in a high security mental hospital. His application for unescorted leave had been refused, and he wished to challenge the decisions. Anonymity in the subsequent proceedings had been refused to . .
CitedZC v Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust QBD 26-Jul-2019
Defamation/privacy claims against doctors failed
The claimant, seeking damages for alleged defamation, now asked for the case to be anonymised.
Held: The conditions for anonymisation were not met. The anonymity would be retained temporarily until any time for appeal had passed.
As to . .
CitedXXX v Camden London Borough Council CA 11-Nov-2020
Anonymity in Court Proceedings – No two stage test
XXX appealed against the refusal to make orders anonymising her name and redacting certain details from published judgments. The appeal raised a point about the proper approach to applications for anonymisation under CPR 39.2. She brought . .
CitedImam, Regina (on The Application of) v The London Borough of Croydon (Anonymity request) Admn 26-Mar-2021
Anonymity Not Necessary under CPR 3.92.
Judgment on the Claimant’s application for an order under CPR 39.2(4) that her name be anonymised in these proceedings by the use of a cipher and that restrictions should be imposed on the reporting of her identity. She said that publication of her . .
See AlsoHM Treasury v Ahmed and Others SC 4-Feb-2010
The Court had declared unlawful as ultra vires terrorism related orders made against the several claimants. The court now considered how restrictions imposed by banks should be dealt with.
Held: (Lord Hope dissenting as to the order required) . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Media, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 31 December 2021; Ref: scu.395045