Privacy injunctions hit lowest level yet, Ministry of Justice figures reveal

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There was only one application for an interim privacy injunction in the High Court during the final six months of last year – and that was rejected, according to new statistics from the Ministry of Justice.
 
In addition, the only case involving a pre-existing interim injunction dealt with by the High Court resulted in the order being discharged, while there were no applications for final privacy injunctions.
 
The figures are the lowest since the Ministry of Justice started collecting statistics on privacy injunctions in August 2011.
 
According to the figures, published in a Ministry of Justice Statistics Bulletin on March 13, the one interim injunction application was made by a male, on notice to other parties.
 
The court did not grant the injunction, but did allow three derogations from the open justice principle – anonymity for one of the parties, restrictions on access to court documents, and restrictions on providing court documents to third parties.
 
The report gives no indication as to the detailed reasons for the application.
 
During the same six-month period last year, it says, there was also only one case in which the High Court considered whether to continue or vary and existing interim injunction.
 
This order, which again had been sought by a male, on notice, was discharged.
 
There were no High Court proceedings for final injunctions during the final six months of 2013, and no appeals to the Court of Appeal in relation to injunctions.
 
The report points out that the Court of Appeal has heard only one appeal against the grant or refusal of an interim or final privacy injunction – in a case dealt with during the period August-December 2011, when collection of such statistics first started following the report by the then Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, which came after concerns in the wake of several high-profile court cases over the perceived growth in the use of so-called "super-injunctions" and the increasing frequency with which High Court proceedings concerning alleged misuse of private information were being anonymised. The figures suggest a downward trend in the use of privacy injunctions.
 
There were four applications for interim injunctions in the period August-December 2011, nine in the first six months of 2012, three in the final six months of that year, and six in the first six months of last year.
 
All of those applications were granted – in contrast to the rejection of the lone application made in the final half of last year.

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