Super-injunctions should only be issued in exceptional circumstances, according to a judicial Committee chaired by Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger
by Sophie McBain
Super-injunctions should only be issued in exceptional circumstances, according to a judicial Committee chaired by Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger. The Committee’s report, published today, said that public concern over the growth of super-injunctions was ‘justifiable’ and included draft guidelines to give the media advance notice of applications for such injunctions.
Lord Neuberger’s committee was formed in April 2010 amid growing public concern over the use of ‘super-injunctions,’ court orders restricting the media and others from publishing certain information about individuals’ private lives and from mentioning the existence of the court injunction.
The report emphasised that open justice is a ‘fundamental constitutional principle,’ and that injunctions preventing the open discussion of court proceedings should only be granted in very exceptional circumstances.
However, the report also said that the Committee was only aware of the granting of two super-injunctions since January 2010, and that confusion between ‘cases with privacy and anonymity aspects’ and so-called super-injunctions had meant that many mistakenly believed super-injunctions to be more common than they are.
Lord Judge, Lord Chief of Justice, spoke to welcome the report and refuted claims made by some politicians that judges were behind the growth in injunctions protecting individual privacy. He said that ‘contrary to some commentary unelected judges in this country did not create privacy rights. They were created by parliament.’
The report was released a day after the lifting of a super-injunction preventing the media from reporting that Sir Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, was conducting an extra-marital affair with a senior colleague prior to the bank’s collapse.