The Court of Appeal has granted an interim privacy injunction preventing the Sun on Sunday from publishing an article about an entertainer.
Both the claimant, PJS, and his partner, YMA, are well known and work in entertainment. They have young children. The couple stated in evidence that theirs was an open marriage and YMA accepted that from time to time PJS had sexual encounters with others. The Sun on Sunday wished to publish a 'kiss and tell' story of two people with whom PJS had had a sexual encounter back in 2009.
Although it was common ground that PJS had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to the subject matter of the proposed article, a High Court judge initially refused to grant the injunction on the basis that the article was in the public interest, accepting the newspaper's argument that it was entitled to "correct" the image of the couple's committed relationship.
The Court of Appeal, however, decided that there was no inconsistency between a committed relationship and their open marriage, which accommodated the claimant's occasional sexual encounters with others. The Court said that the press cuttings relied on by the newspaper did not give an image of "total marital fidelity, but rather a picture of a couple who are in a long term, loving and committed relationship."
Therefore, there was no "false image" which the newspaper was entitled to "correct" by publishing details of the claimant's private life.
The Court of Appeal also held that the High Court judge had not sufficiently considered the privacy rights of the couple's children. Lord Justice Jackson highlighted the long term implications of private information published by a newspaper being indefinitely available on the internet.
This decision demonstrates that, even in the case of a person in the public eye, the Court will analyse with some care whether there really is a public interest in publishing private information. The Court of Appeal endorsed the recent decision of the Strasbourg Court which held that stories which merely satisfy newspaper readers' curiosity about the private life of a public figure do not serve the public interest (Couderc & Hachette v France).
A link to the Court of Appeal judgment in PJS v News Group Newspapers may be found here:  EWCA Civ 100.