London Regional Transport v Mayor of London

Reference: [2001] EWCA Civ 1491; [2003] EMLR 88

Court: Court of Appeal

Judge: Aldous, Robert Walker & Sedley LJJ

Date of judgment: 24 Aug 2001

Summary: Breach of confidence - Contract - Injunction - public interest- Human Rights

Instructing Solicitors: LRT Solicitor for the Claimant; Baker McKenzie for the Defendant


The claimants appealed the decision of Sullivan J. to discharge an injunction restraining the defendants from publishing a redacted report critical of the proposed public-private-partnership (PPP) for London’s underground.


Whether a breach of confidence was involved in the publication of the report in its redacted form and whether the public interest justified publication in spite of an express provision as to confidentiality in the employment contract of the individual leaking the report.


(1) The report was credible and criticised a fundamental element of the proposed PPP and, as such, was of immense public interest. (2) The court was not of the opinion that further redaction was required to preserve commercial confidentiality.


Some previous authorities suggested that once a party had contractually agreed to keep something confidential there was little room for any public interest argument based on freedom of expression – see e.g. AG v Barker [1990] 3 All ER 257. The LRT case makes it clear that contractual rights, whilst important, are not determinative, particularly at the interim stage.