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MoJ publishes first statistics on privacy injunctions

16 March 2012

Yesterday the Ministry of Justice published the first set of statistics on privacy injunctions, following the recommendations in the report by Lord Neuberger's Committee on Super Injunctions published in May last year.

The injunctions included within these statistics were those dealt with in any civil proceedings between August and December 2011 in the RCJ where the court considered:

    • an application for a privacy injunction (i.e. an order prohibiting the publication of private or confidential information);
    • the continuation of such an injunction; or
    • an appeal against the grant or refusal of such an injunction.

Hearing judges were responsible for determining whether the cases they heard met any of these criteria and, if so, they were responsible for forwarding the case details on to the MoJ's statistics team.

The statistics show that between August and December 2011:

    • The High Court in London received four applications for new interim privacy injunctions, all of which were granted. Of these, only one had a 'super-injunction' clause (i.e. preventing the reporting of the fact that proceedings had taken place or that an injunction was in existence) and this provision was discharged shortly after having been made.
    • There were three cases where the High Court considered whether to continue or vary an existing interim privacy injunction (i.e. one that was initially granted prior to August 2011). Again, all of these were granted.
    • There were two cases where the court considered an application for a final privacy injunction, both of which were granted.
    • There was one appeal against a grant or refusal of an interim or final injunction heard at the Court of Appeal, which resulted in the injunction being discharged.

This is the first time figures have been provided on the number of privacy injunctions, so it is hard to draw hard and fast conclusions about what they mean. However, it would seem that, whilst it may have been the case that privacy injunctions were previously being granted too readily, the sea change marked by the John Terry case in 2010 (Terry v Persons Unknown [2010] 1 FCR 659) and those that followed has led to a decline which these figures indicate is continuing.

The next round of statistics, for the period for January to June 2012, will be published at the end of September.