The Claimant (“C”) applied for summary judgment in a claim for misuse of private information and harassment, and to strike out D’s counterclaim. The privacy claim arose from a website created by the Defendant (“D”), giving his account of his relationship with C, and the harassment claim from a series of email communications from D to C, over a period of some two years, and from publication of the website itself.
D was granted an ex parte injunction on 27 June 2018 by Nicklin J. By that order, D was restrained from contacting or harassing C, from publishing the website or any of its contents to the world at large, and from publishing any of the information set out in a confidential schedule, or any information which was liable to or might identify C as a party to the proceedings or as the subject of the confidential information.
The information set out in the confidential schedule was information concerning C’s sexuality and his relationship with D; his sexual life, including intimate details of sexual activity; his health, including intimate details relating to his mental and sexual health; his family life, including relationships with his mother and brother; financial information; and allegations that he had been involved in criminal or regulatory wrongdoing.
The interim injunction was continued by Nicklin J on 4 July 2018, and by Dingemans J on 22 November 2018, on both occasions in the absence of D.
D made a cross-application seeking an order striking out the claim pursuant to CPR 3.4 and discharging the interim injunction on six grounds: (1) C did not have his centre of interests in England and Wales; (2) no alleged act or alleged harm has occurred in England and Wales; (3) the injunction interfered with D’s rights under Article 10 and Article 8 of the ECHR; (4) the claim was an abuse of process as per Jameel v Dow Jones; (5) the claim was an abuse of process as the “nub” of C’s claim was reputation; and (6) C should not be entitled to any equitable relief as he had breached the clean hands doctrine.
Following the granting of the interim injunction and the return date, D had made a challenge to the Court’s jurisdiction, putting in evidence to the effect that he currently lived and worked in Switzerland, had done so since 2017, and was in Zürich on 27 June 2018 when the Claim Form and accompanying documents were served on him by email.
The challenge to jurisdiction was heard on 5 October 2018 by Karen Steyn QC sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court. The deputy judge dismissed D’s application with costs, BVC v EWF  EWHC 2674 (QB). She held that C had a good arguable case that this jurisdiction was the state in which he had the centre of his interests, and that in any event a real and substantial tort (namely misuse of private information) had been committed within the jurisdiction. D sought permission to appeal from the judgment of Karen Steyn QC but was refused permission by Floyd LJ on 14 February 2019.
C filed and served a Particulars of Claim and D filed and served a Defence and Counterclaim. In the counterclaim, D relied on causes of action in ‘negligence, battery and assault, intention infliction of harm (sic), trespass to goods, conversion, deceit, malicious prosecution and abuse of process’.
D strongly disputed in the Defence that this jurisdiction was the centre of the Claimant’s interests, maintaining that in reality that centre was State B. C maintained that it was not open to the Defendant to pursue his jurisdictional challenge since that had been conclusively and finally determined by the deputy Judge.