This topic has been the subject of intense media and public scrutiny over the past few weeks with several “super” injunctions (which prevent the identity of protected individuals and that fact that an injunction was ever made) receiving particular attention. It has also led to a peer using Parliamentary privilege to further question specific aspects of an alleged injunction. The existence of the web forum Twitter has also been used as a means to identify individuals.
Anonymised injunctions (which restrain a person from publishing information which concerns the applicant and is said to be confidential or private where the names of either or both of the parties to the proceedings are not stated) are also covered by the report.
The committee on super-injunctions was set up in April 2010. This was primarily to address concerns centred around the perceived growth in the use and application of super-injunctions and the increasing frequency with which proceedings were being anonymised generally. Lord Neuberger chaired the committee. The committee commented that there was no doubt that super-injunctions has been granted far too often and has proposed a procedure whereby the media will be informed about applications before they are made.
The committee reported on 20 May 2011 and key recommendations included consideration of advance notice to the media if a super-injunction is sought and a reasoned judgment being provided by the court, where an anonymised order is made by the court.
The Government is currently considering the report and we will update readers as and when a response is provided by them.
Readers who have been involved in matters involving a concern about the publication of material will be aware that in the usual course of proceedings notice is given to parties/those who will be affected by an injunction that an injunction is being sought. However, the issue addressed by the report highlights the need, when NHS bodies are involved in cases involving sensitive patient related issues, to consider what, if any, protection from publication is needed and whether arrangements between the parties within proceedings are sufficient to protect the NHS and/or patient involved.