Martin v Channel Four Television Corporation & Others
Reference:  EWHC 2788 (QB)
Court: Queen's Bench Division
Judge: Eady J
Date of judgment: 6 Nov 2009
Summary: Interim injunctions - Privacy - Contract - Human Rights Act 1998, s.12 - CPR 25.2(2)(b)
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Jacob Dean (Respondent)
Instructing Solicitors: Charles Russell LLP for Channel Four; Employment Lawyers for the Claimant
The Claimant sought an interim injunction to prevent Channel Four broadcasting a documentary film featuring intimate footage of his day-to-day life. The footage had been filmed with the Claimant’s consent, but he maintained that he had been promised final approval of any broadcast. Channel Four denied the Claimant had been given a right of veto, but said that because it did not intend to broadcast the film without first addressing the Claimant’s concerns and giving him 14 days notice of any broadcast there was no current threat justifying interim relief. Although the application had been outstanding for several weeks the Claimant had not issued proceedings.
(1) Whether relief could be awarded without proceedings being issued;
(2) Whether there was a sufficient threat to publish so as to justify interim relief;
(3) Whether the Claimant was likely to succeeed at trial.
Refusing the application: there was no urgency which justified the application for interim relief being made without proceedings first being issued. There were factual and legal issues in relation to the substantive claim which could not resolved on an interim application, but because there was no threat or current intention to publish no interim relief was justified.
The case is a useful confirmation by the Court that the practice sometimes followed by media defendants faced with threats of injunctive relief of giving an undertaking not to publish without first giving sufficient notice to allow the potential Claimant to apply to the Court is likely to be effective in seeing off an injunction application.