In the case of Elena Ambrosiadou v Martin Coward [2013] EWHC 58 (QB) the High Court held that it was neither necessary nor proportionate to extend the terms of a privacy injunction agreed between a husband and wife to include third parties.

The facts

In April 2009, the claimant (Ambrosiadou) started divorce proceedings in Greece against her husband (Coward). On 19 May 2010, the defendant issued an application for provisional measures relating his contact with their son, and the son's schooling and assets. The notice in support of the application contained a number of allegations relating to the disputes which had arisen between the parties both domestically and in relation to their co-founded company; many of which had little relevance to the application.

Following the application hearing, Coward provided a redacted version of the application to the media. The Court of Appeal subsequently granted an interim injunction preventing Coward from publishing the redacted material or the application notice. Coward consented to an order which included injunctions restraining him from disclosing or publishing the redacted information or other information concerning their son, their marriage and the personal relationship between him and Ambrosiadou. However, Coward did not consent to the inclusion of a penal notice, which would have the effect of binding third parties who were not party to the litigation.

Ambrosiadou submitted that a penal notice should be included in the order because she could not safely proceed on the basis that third parties who had been notified of the terms of the settlement would be in contempt of court if they disclosed information of the kind specified.

Decision

Mr Justice Tugenhdhat held that Ambrosiadou had failed to show that an order expressly addressed to third parties was necessary or proportionate. All other draft terms of the order were upheld.

Comment

It would have been surprising if Mr Justice Tugenhdhat had decided that it was proportionate and necessary to extend the terms of the privacy injunction to third parties as sought by the claimant, especially as to my knowledge no third party had disputed or was likely to dispute that Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights had been engaged in respect of the relevant information. Had there been some evidence of a threat from a third party to publish, or of a real risk that a third party might publish the information (in respect of which the parties and their son clearly had a reasonable expectation of privacy), it is possible in my view the outcome of the case could have been different.