MLA was a performing artist. OPO was a child and the son of MLA. STL was a commercial publisher. The father had written a semi-autobiographical book for publication in the UK and other jurisdictions. The book gave an account of the serious childhood sexual abuse suffered by the father over many years. He was traumatised by this, as well as suffering physically, and it has led him to have episodes of severe mental illness and incidents of self-harming. The book was an artistic and insightful piece of work containing striking prose. The father had already given many newspaper interviews referring to his abuse as a child.
The book was dedicated to his son. The son was born in the UK, but since his parents’ divorce now lives in another country with his mother. He suffers from significant disabilities: he has a diagnosis of a combination of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), Asperger’s syndrome, Dysgraphia and Dyspraxia. Evidence of two child psychologists suggested that the child would be at risk of serious psychological harm if he were exposed to the accounts given by the father in the book. The most recent report concluded that the book would be likely to exert a catastrophic effect on the child’s self-esteem and to cause him enduring psychological harm. That evidence was disputed by the father.
The child applied for an injunction to Bean J. He contended that publication of the book should be restrained on three bases: (1) that publication would represent misuse of private information; (2) that it would be a breach of the duty of care owed by the father to his son; and (3) that publication would amount to the deliberate infliction of emotional harm under the tort recognised in Wilkinson –v- Downton  QB 57. The father and the publisher opposed the application, contending that none of the causes of action had any prospect of success; alternatively that the Claimant’s prospects of success were not sufficiently favourable to justify the grant of an injunction in accordance with s.12 Human Rights Act 1998 and that, in any event, the law that applied to any cause of action that the Claimant could establish would be that of the country in which he lived not the UK.
In a reserved judgment handed down in private, Bean J refused the injunction, holding that all three causes of action had no prospects of success. He therefore dismissed the application for an injunction and dismissed the entire claim. In light of his findings, he did not determine the issue of choice of law. Permission to appeal was refused by the Judge, but granted by the Court of Appeal. The Claimant appealed.
The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal from Bean J on the basis that the Child had sufficiently favourable prospects of suceeding under Wilkinson v Downton only to grant an interim injunction.
The Supreme Court gave the father permission to appeal.