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AMM v. News Group Newspapers

In Progress Contracts Expression

Key Details

  • Mode of Expression
    Press / Newspapers
  • Date of Decision
    December 3, 2014
  • Outcome
    Injunction or Order Granted
  • Case Number
    [2014] EWHC 4063 (QB)
  • Region & Country
    United Kingdom, Europe and Central Asia
  • Judicial Body
    First Instance Court
  • Type of Law
    Civil Law
  • Themes
    Content Regulation / Censorship, Other (see tags), Defamation / Reputation
  • Tags
    Freedom of press, Privacy

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Case Analysis

Case Summary and Outcome

On November 29, 2014, the England and Wales High Court granted an anonymous applicant an injunction to stop a defendant newspaper from publicizing information concerning a sexual relationship the applicant allegedly had. The judgment came down on December 3, 2014 and a directions hearing took place on 5 December, 2014.


Facts

The applicant is an individual who has been anonymized in the court documents to protect his privacy interests and identity. The defendant is News Group Newspapers, the publisher of Sun on Sunday. The applicant applied for an injunction to stop the defendant from publicizing information concerning a sexual relationship the applicant had in 2011. On November 29, 2014, Justice Stewart of the England and Wales High Court granted the injunction for a short period to allow for the filing of further evidence. The defendant had agreed to give an undertaking not to publish the information concerning the applicant for seven days but was not prepared to give that undertaking to the court. Although the defendant did not refuse to keep the applicant anonymous, the defendant also did not agree to it.


Decision Overview

On November 29, 2014, Justice Stewart granted a privacy injunction against Sun on Sunday to restrain the publication of information about the applicant’s alleged sexual relationship.

The judgment came down on December 3, 2014. Writing for the Court, Judge Stewart held that the test in Section 12 of the Human Rights Act was satisfied (that is, Freedom of Expression was likely to be affected), and therefore, the applicant was likely to establish that the publication should not be allowed. Stewart also noted that Articles 8 and 10 of the European Court of Human Rights were in favor of the applicant. He further stated that it was necessary that the proceedings be private and that the applicant to remain anonymous. Stewart considered that an injunction was necessary because the defendant did not agree to the anonymity of the applicant. In addition, Stewart stated that the defendant had failed to give the applicant the forty-eight hours agreed notice of intended publication.

A directions hearing took place on 5 December 2014 before Sir David Eady.


Decision Direction

Quick Info

Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.

Contracts Expression

This was the first privacy injunction against the media since January 2013. The last privacy injunction granted against a media defendant was in the case of Rocknroll v News Group Newspapers on January 17, 2013.

Global Perspective

Quick Info

Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.

Related International and/or regional laws

  • ECtHR, Von Hannover v. Germany (No. 2), App. No. 40660/08 & 60641/08 (2012)

National standards, law or jurisprudence

  • U.K., Human Rights Act, Art. 12
  • U.K., Human Rights Act, Art. 8
  • U.K., Human Rights Act, Art. 10

General Law Notes

Article 12 of the UK Human Rights Act 1998

Freedom of expression.

  • (1)This section applies if a court is considering whether to grant any relief which, if granted, might affect the exercise of the Convention right to freedom of expression.
  • (2)If the person against whom the application for relief is made (“the respondent”) is neither present nor represented, no such relief is to be granted unless the court is satisfied—
    • (a)that the applicant has taken all practicable steps to notify the respondent; or
    • (b)that there are compelling reasons why the respondent should not be notified.
  • (3)No such relief is to be granted so as to restrain publication before trial unless the court is satisfied that the applicant is likely to establish that publication should not be allowed.
  • (4)The court must have particular regard to the importance of the Convention right to freedom of expression and, where the proceedings relate to material which the respondent claims, or which appears to the court, to be journalistic, literary or artistic material (or to conduct connected with such material), to—
    • (a)the extent to which—
      • (i)the material has, or is about to, become available to the public; or
      • (ii)it is, or would be, in the public interest for the material to be published;
    • (b)any relevant privacy code.
  • (5)In this section—“court” includes a tribunal; and“relief” includes any remedy or order (other than in criminal proceedings).

 

 

 

Article 8 of the European Court of Human Rights 

Right to respect for private and family life

  1.  Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
  2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well – being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

 

Article 10 of the European Court of Human Rights 

Freedom of expression

  1.  Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
  2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Case Significance

Quick Info

Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.

The decision establishes a binding or persuasive precedent within its jurisdiction.

Official Case Documents

Official Case Documents:


Amicus Briefs and Other Legal Authorities

  • European Convention on Human Rights

    http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf

  • Reports, Analysis, and News Articles:


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