Straw to consult newspapers on super-injunctions

Justice Secretary Jack Straw has launched a consultation with lawyers from major newspapers over “super-injunctions” following the Trafigura row.

Junior justice minister Bridget Prentice told MPs last week that a number of senior judges would also be involved in a consultation over court orders which ban publication of certain information and also ban reporting about the order being made.

Prentice told MPs: “We are very concerned that super-injunctions are being used more commonly, particularly in the area of libel and privacy.

“The Secretary of State for Justice [Straw] has already asked senior officials in the department to discuss the matter with lawyers from the major newspapers. We are also involving the judiciary in a consultation.

“We are looking specifically at how the use of super-injunctions has had an effect and what we therefore need to do on that.”

Prentice told MPs during a debate on 21 October she would relay MPs message that further guidelines might be needed for judiciary to the Justice Secretary and the Lord Chief Justice.

The Prime Minister told MPs earlier this month Straw would examine the use of so-called “super injunctions” after the Guardian reported that it had been prevented from reporting a Parliamentary question tabled by Newcastle-under-Lyme MP Paul Farrelly, a former journalist, relating to oil company Trafigura because of an injunction obtained by the firm’s lawyers, Carter Ruck.

Prentice told MPs the advice given to the Guardian by Carter-Ruck that the newspaper would be in contempt for reporting Farrelly’s question, was incorrect.

She added: “I am happy to ensure that we send them a copy of Article 9 [of the Bill of Rights 1689], so that they can read and peruse it at their leisure.”

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