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Privacy and anonymisation in commercial cases and in the Court of Appeal

10 January 2011. Published by Keith Mathieson, Partner

In a music royalties dispute involving Pink Floyd, the Court of Appeal has made it clear that a private hearing or anonymisation of parties should take place only where the court is satisfied this is necessary for the proper administration of justice.

In the Pink Floyd case – Pink Floyd Music Limited v EMI Records [2010] EWCA Civ 1429 – the appeal was listed to be heard in private under the case name P v E.  The reason was that a particular percentage figure was alleged to be commercially sensitive.  Lord Neuberger MR pointed out that even if that was correct, the problem could be dealt with by redacting the figure: it was unnecessary either to anonymise the parties or to hold the hearing in private.  To the extent that the figure was inadvertently mentioned in open court, that could be dealt with by an order preventing the figure from being publicly disclosed.

See further sections 10.2 and 10.3 of the Privacy Law Handbook