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15.03.18

The resurgence of the privacy injunction?

According to official statistics published by the Ministry of Justice, there were, between July and December 2017, eight new applications for interim privacy injunctions, all of which were granted (available here). This was the highest number of successful new applications in a six-month period since 2012.  Is the privacy injunction making a return?

This higher figure may be attributable, in part, to the fact that more accurate records are kept following the creation of the Media and Communications List  - reserved for cases involving the main media torts - in March 2017 (see here for further information).   It may also be a consequence of the decision in PJS v News Group Newspapers [2016] UKSC 26 in which the Supreme Court reaffirmed that injunctions could still be granted in misuse of private information cases even where the information in question is relatively widely known. A further unwelcome intrusion can add to a claimant’s suffering and thus an injunction preventing such disclosure still serves a legitimate purpose.

The fact that the Court granted all new applications for interim privacy injunctions in the last six months of 2017 should not be interpreted as a sign that they are adopting a more lenient approach. The decision to award or refuse such injunctions will invariably be based on the specific facts of each case. As a starting point, the Court must consider the “attributes of the claimant, the nature of the activity in which the claimant was engaged, the place at which it was happening, the nature and purpose of the intrusion, the absence of consent and whether it was known or could be inferred, the effect on the claimant and the circumstances in which and the purposes for which the information came into the hands of the publisher” (Murray v Big Pictures (UK) Ltd [2008] EWCA Civ 446).  The impact that disclosure would have on the applicant’s children is also of considerable importance.

 

If you are unclear on whether you have a claim for a privacy injunction, please contact our lawyers who have expertise in this field (click here). It is imperative that you act quickly, however, to ensure that the disclosure is prevented.  It can, as privacy lawyers will tell you, be very difficult to put the genie back in the bottle once the private information is out there.


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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.


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