Tillery Valley Foods v Channel Four Television, Shine Limited: ChD 18 May 2004

The claimant sought an injunction to restrain the defendants from broadcasting a film, claiming that it contained confidential material. A journalist working undercover sought to reveal what he said were unhealthy practices in the claimant’s meat processing plant. A claim under defamation would not restrict publication where a defence of justification might be anticipated. The claimants said that a fair right of response would allow them to investigate allegations before replying.
Held: The court must be satisfied that there was no reason to expect the claim to fail before allowing a restraint of a future publication. The claim failed that test, and indeed had little prospect of success. The information did not have the characteristics of confidential information, and the public interest weighed in favour of disclosure of malpractice. Any right of reply was restricted to that given by a code of practice with no force in law.
Mann J said: ‘The truth of this matter is that this case is not about confidentiality at all. So far as Tillery has a claim it will be a claim based on the fact (if it be a fact) that the reporting is inaccurate and contains falsehoods. If and insofar as the reporting turns out to be accurate (as to which I can, of course, say nothing) then it cannot have a legitimate complaint in law. If it is inaccurate it will have a claim for the damage caused by that falsehood. In other words this is really a defamation action in disguise. It is not surprising that it cannot be squashed into the law of confidence. And even if it could, since the reality would still be that of a defamation action with parallel claims based on other wrongs , it would have been appropriate to apply the rule in Bonnardv Perryman to any claim for an interlocutory injunction, as was held by Lightman J in Service Corporation International plc v Channel Four Television’


Mann, The Honourable Mr Justice Mann


[2004] EWHC 1075 (Ch), Times 21-May-2004, Gazette 03-Jun-2004




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 . .
CitedMalone v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis (No 2) ChD 28-Feb-1979
The court considered the lawfulness of telephone tapping. The issue arose following a trial in which the prosecution had admitted the interception of the plaintiff’s telephone conversations under a warrant issued by the Secretary of State. 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 . .
CitedAustralian Broadcasting Corporation v Lenah Game Meats Pty Ltd 15-Nov-2001
(High Court of Australia) The activities of a company which processed possum meat for export (‘what the processing of possums looks,and sounds like’) were not such as to attract the quality of being confidential for the purpose of the law protecting . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedService Corporation International plc v Channel Four Television ChD 1999
The court considered an application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain a broadcast, based on copyright. The defendant argued that this was merely an attempt to circumvent difficulties in a defamation action.
Held: Where an interim . .

Cited by:

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 . .
CitedHeythrop Zoological Gardens Ltd (T/A Amazing Animals) and Another v Captive Animals Protection Society ChD 20-May-2016
The claimant said that the defendant had, through its members visiting their premises, breached the licence under which they entered, by taking photographs and distributing them on the internet, and in so doing also infringing the performance rights . .
CitedNT 1 and NT 2 v Google Llc QBD 13-Apr-2018
Right to be Forgotten is not absolute
The two claimants separately had criminal convictions from years before. They objected to the defendant indexing third party web pages which included personal data in the form of information about those convictions, which were now spent. The claims . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Media, Information, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 27 November 2022; Ref: scu.196975