Browne ruling: What are the implications for privacy and the press?

Even though details of a sexual relationship are clearly regarded as private and would normally be protected by the court, it's still the case that anyone asking for an injunction must have ‘clean hands'.

If Lord Browne had not lied, it's likely the court would have continued to assist him to protect his privacy, but there has to be a public interest that a person in his position would go to such lengths to deceive the court. So basically he lost it because he lied.

Because he got an injunction in the first place, it shows that the courts are going to uphold the decision they made in McKennitt v Ash last year – showing that people will have their sexual relations and private lives protected by the courts.

The courts were going to uphold the injunction and were going to give him the protection he wanted – certainly on the stuff about his private life – [but] not if he obviously had his hand in the till, which is one of the things [Jeff Chevalier] alleged. You don't get protection for wrongdoing.

What was distinctive about this case was the courts making it clear as they always had, that if you come and lie to us, no matter how good your claim is, we're not going to protect you.

Caroline Kean is a media lawyer for law firm Wiggin. 

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