Mills v News Group Newspapers Ltd

Reference: [2001] EMLR 957

Court: Chancery Division

Judge: Lawrence Collins J

Date of judgment: 4 Jun 2001

Summary: Injunction - Privacy - Confidence - Press Complaints Commission Code of Conduct - European Convention on Human Rights - Article 10 - Article 8 - s.12 Human Rights Act 1998

Instructing Solicitors: Sheridans for the Claimant; Farrer & Co for the Defendant


Anxious that the address of her new property might become public knowledge, and in fear of her physical safety following disturbing emails, the Claimant, Heather Mills, by then publicly associated with Sir Paul McCartney, applied to have an injunction maintained against The Sun’s threatened disclosure of the information.


Whether the private address of a famous person will be protected as confidential information.


The mere publication of an address is not confidential information or, of itself, an unwarranted invasion of privacy. The freedom to impart the information outweighed Mills’ article 8 rights. The risk to her was slight. It was well known she lived in the town: pictures of her former home has been published in national newspapers previously. The avowal of The Sun that it would not publish was taken into account.


A prohibition on the publication of an individual’s address is only likely if he or she can demonstrate a real danger to them(as per Venables & Thompson).