Principles on Request for Anonymity Order
The defendant appealed against an order granting the anonymisation of the proceeedings.
Held: The critical question is whether there is sufficient general public interest in publishing a report of proceedings which identifies a party by name, to justify any resulting curtailment of that party’s right to respect for his or her private life.
Lord Neuberger MR summarised the principles applicable as follows: (1) The general rule is that the names of the parties to an action are included in orders and judgments of the court.
(2) There is no general exception for cases where private matters are in issue.
(3) An order for anonymity or any other order restraining the publication of the normally reportable details of a case is a derogation from the principle of open justice and an interference with the Article 10 rights of the public at large.
(4) Accordingly, where the court is asked to make any such order, it should only do so after closely scrutinising the application, and considering whether a degree of restraint on publication is necessary, and, if it is, whether there is any less restrictive or more acceptable alternative than that which is sought.
(5) Where the court is asked to restrain the publication of the names of the parties and/or the subject matter of the claim, on the ground that such restraint is necessary under Article 8, the question is whether there is sufficient general, public interest in publishing a report of the proceedings which identifies a party and/or the normally reportable details to justify any resulting curtailment of his right and his family’s right to respect for their private and family life.
(6) On any such application, no special treatment should be accorded to public figures or celebrities: in principle, they are entitled to the same protection as others, no more and no less.
(7) An order for anonymity or for reporting restrictions should not be made simply because the parties consent: parties cannot waive the rights of the public.
(8) An anonymity order or any other order restraining publication made by a Judge at an interlocutory stage of an injunction application does not last for the duration of the proceedings but must be reviewed at the return date.
(9) Whether or not an anonymity order or an order restraining publication of normally reportable details is made, then, at least where a judgment is or would normally be given, a publicly available judgment should normally be given, and a copy of the consequential court order should also be publicly available, although some editing of the judgment or order may be necessary.
(10) Notice of any hearing should be given to the defendant unless there is a good reason not to do so, in which case the court should be told of the absence of notice and the reason for it, and should be satisfied that the reason is a good one.
public coverage of court proceedings is a fundamental aspect of freedom of expression, with particular importance: the ability of the press freely to observe and report on proceedings in the courts is an essential ingredient of the rule of law. Indeed the right to a ‘fair and public hearing’ and the obligation to pronounce judgment in public, save where it conflicts with ‘the protection of the private lives of the parties’ or ‘would prejudice the interests of justice’, are set out in Article 6 of the Convention’.
The court explained why it could be proper to restrain publication of the bare fact of a relationship: ‘there is much in the point that the media will be generally better able to discover, and report on, what the courts are doing if they can publish (a) details of the type of case (for instance, as in this case, a sexual liaison between an unidentified well known sportsman, in an apparently monogamous relationship, and a third party) rather than (b) the name of the individual who is seeking to protect an unspecified aspect of his or her alleged private life by means of an injunction. As Mr Tomlinson puts it, the former information would normally enable the public to have a much better idea of why the court acted as it did than the latter information.’
Neuberger MR LJ, Maurice Kay VP LJ, Smith LJ
 EWCA Civ 42,  2 All ER 324, (2011) 108(7) LSG 18, (2011) 161 NLJ 211,  EMLR 15
England and Wales
Cited – Gray v UVW QBD 21-Oct-2010
Application was made for the name of the defendant not to be published.
Held: To the extent that a claimant seeks an order for the anonymisation of any reports of the SOPO proceedings, then that jurisdiction derives from section 6(1) of the . .
Appeal from – JIH 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 . .
Appeal from – JIH v News Group Newspapers Ltd (No. 2) QBD 18-Nov-2010
Explanation of reasons for anonymity order. . .
Cited – Ntuli v Donald CA 16-Nov-2010
The defendant sought the discharge of a super-injunction, an order against not only the identification of the parties, but also the existence of the proceedings.
Held: The order preventing publication of the underlying allegations remained, . .
Cited – Scott v Scott HL 5-May-1913
Presumption in Favour of Open Proceedings
There had been an unauthorised dissemination by the petitioner to third parties of the official shorthand writer’s notes of a nullity suit which had been heard in camera. An application was made for a committal for contempt.
Held: The House . .
Cited – Flood v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 13-Jul-2010
The claimant police officer complained of an article he said was defamatory in saying he was being investigated for allegations of accepting bribes. The article remained on the internet even after he was cleared. Each party appealed interim orders. . .
Cited – Allen v The Grimsby Telegraph and Another QBD 2-Mar-2011
The claimant sought to prevent publication of his name in the context of the making of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO). He had been convicted of offences against sex workers. An order had been made preventing disclosure of his address, but . .
Cited – Goldsmith 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. . .
Applied – CTB 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 – Goodwin 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 . .
Cited – McClaren 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 . .
Cited – AAA v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 20-May-2013
An order had been sought for the claimant child for damages after publication by the defendant of details of her identity and that of her politician father. She now appealed against refusal of her claim for damages for publication of private . .
Cited – Bank Mellat v Her Majesty’s Treasury (No 1) SC 19-Jun-2013
Closed Material before Supreme Court
Under the 2009 order, the appellant Bank had been effectively shut down as to its operations within the UK. It sought to use the appeal procedure, and now objected to the use of closed material procedure. The Supreme Court asked itself whether it . .
Cited – A, Regina (on The Application of) v Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court Admn 26-Mar-2013
A had pleaded guilty to a charge of being drunk in a public place, while having the charge of a child under the age of 7 years, contrary to section 2(1) of the Licensing Act 1902. The child in question was A’s daughter, to whom I shall refer as B. B . .
Cited – MX 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 . .
Cited – Imam, 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Litigation Practice, Media
Updated: 12 November 2021; Ref: scu.428348