Sportsman 'JIH' appeals against identification ruling

A well-known sportsman who obtained an order stopping the media publishing information about his private life appealed a ruling which would reveal his identity.

The man, referred to in court as JIH, on Friday asked a panel of three judges headed by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, to reverse a ruling by High Court judge.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing the personality, said the public had a right to know why the injunction was granted but no right to know private information.

He said any judgment on the matter could refer to the information but all the parties should be anonymised.

“The effect of the judge’s order would be to put this claimant’s life into the media spotlight – a huge intrusion into his private life,” he said.

“If it was reported that a celebrity had obtained an injunction prohibiting publication of something in his life there is obviously going to be huge speculation about what is going on.”

High Court judge Justice Tugendhat held last year that “the general principle of open justice provides, in this case, sufficient general public interest in publishing a report of proceedings which identifies the claimant to justify any resulting curtailment of the rights of the claimant and his family to respect for their private and family life”.

JIH originally went to court last August after News Group Newspapers published articles about him.

At a private hearing, Justice Nicol granted a temporary injunction after lawyers argued that, unless it was granted, JIH and others would suffer distress and humiliation.

Nicol also granted JIH anonymity on the basis that publicity revealing his identity was likely to damage his interests or frustrate the administration of justice.

In a ruling in November, Justice Tugendhat said that he had no doubt that private life considerations were engaged and there was no suggestion of any public interest in disclosure of the information.

But he ruled that JIH had not shown to the necessary high standard that the object of achieving justice in the case would be rendered doubtful if the anonymity order were not made.

He said that it was not possible “to do perfect justice to all parties and to the public at the same time”, but an order which identified JIH but kept information about the subject matter confidential would be effective to achieve justice and give all necessary protection to the private lives of those concerned.

The judges reserved their decision.

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