Content Regulation / Censorship, Defamation / Reputation, Privacy, Data Protection and Retention
Cheshire West and Chester Council and others v. Pickthall
In Progress Contracts Expression
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On November 29, 2014, the England and Wales High Court granted an anonymous applicant an injunction to stop a defendant newspaper publicizing information concerning a sexual relationship the applicant allegedly had in 2011. The Judge said that the applicant was likely to establish that publication should not be allowed and that the defendant had given no substantive reason why publication was in the public interest. He said that the information in the proposed publication clearly engaged the Article 8 privacy rights of the applicant and his family and he had to balance these with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Judge Stewart concluded that the balancing exercise was in favor of the applicant’s privacy rights and that an injunction was necessary because, although the Respondent had agreed not to publish within seven days, there was no agreement as to anonymity.
The applicant is an individual who was anonymized in the court documents to protect his privacy interests and identity. The defendant is News Group Newspapers, the publisher of the 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 agree to anonymity.
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 was handed 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, namely that the applicant was likely to establish that publication should not be allowed and, having particular regard to the Convention right to freedom of expression, the Judge noted that the defendant had given no substantive reason justifying publication as being in the public interest. The Judge went on to say that the information in the proposed material clearly engaged the Article 8 rights of the applicant and his family and he had to balance these with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. He concluded that the balancing exercise came down in favor of the applicant’s privacy rights. He said that if the information was published and it proved later to have been published wrongfully then damages would not be an adequate remedy.
Judge Stewart said it was necessary that the proceedings were private and that the applicant remained anonymous because speculation as to the information to be injuncted may well cause great, or even greater, harm than publication of the information itself. He considered that an injunction was necessary because oif the need for the anonymity of the applicant.
A directions hearing took place on December 5 2014 before Sir David Eady.
Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.
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 demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.
Article 12 of the UK Human Rights Act 1998
Freedom of expression.
Article 8 of the European Court of Human Rights
Right to respect for private and family life
Article 10 of the European Court of Human Rights
Freedom of expression
Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.
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