Reference:  EWHC 3064 (QB)
Judge: Sharp J
Date of judgment: 24 Nov 2010
Summary: Privacy - Interim injunction - Anonymisation - Blackmail
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Instructing Solicitors: Harbottle & Lewis LLP for Claimant; Defendant did not appear and was not represented
KJH applied for continuation until trial or further order of an interim injunction in privacy and confidence. Counsel for KJH made submissions and put evidence before the court that KJH was a victim of blackmail. In the particular circumstances of the case it was not possible to give more details of the facts of the case in the open judgment save that the information did not reveal (by way of example) that KJH was conducting an extra marital affair, or any other affair, nor did it reveal any wrongdoing of any description (whether sexual or otherwise) by KJH or any other person.
KJH did not intend to serve copies of the order on any media organisation and intended to serve the order on a third party only if there was a threat of publication by that third party.
HGF was given notice of the hearing but was not present or represented.
Whether the interim injunction should be continued
The evidence before the court established to a high degree of probability that KJH was a victim of blackmail involving the revelation of stolen private and confidential information. KJH was likely to establish at trial that publication of the information in question should not be allowed. There had been no waiver of KJH’s privacy rights and there was no public interest justification for the publication of the information.
In the circumstances it was necessary to derogate from the principle of open justice by holding the hearing in private in accordance with CPR 39.2(3)(a)(c) and (e) and ordering that both parties to the application be referred to by their initials rather than by their names and continuing the order restricting access to documents on the court file.
Publication of any information as to the subject matter of the proceedings or the identity of the parties was limited to that contained in the judgment.
The latest in a series of privacy interim injunction judgments addressing the tests for derogations from the principles of open judgment, confirming that those who appear to be the victims of blackmail involving threats to disseminate private information will not be identified by the court.