Psychology Press Limited v Nelson Thornes Limited & Another

Reference: [2002] EWHC 1205 (QB)

Court: Queen's Bench Division

Judge: Eady J

Date of judgment: 19 Jun 2002

Summary: Publishing contract - restrictive covenant - author's right to freedom of expression - article 10 - injunction

Appearances: Jonathan Barnes KC (Defendant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Stringer Saul for the Defendants


The claimant publisher of psychology text books had an agreement with an author by which the author agreed not to write competing text books for other publishers. The author agreed to write a book for the defendant publisher, which the claimant publisher argued was a competing work. The claimant publisher sought an injunction preventing publication of the allegedly competing work.


(1) What part the author’s right to freedom of expression under ECHR Article 10 played in relation to her contract with the claimant publisher; (2) Whether an injunction would be granted.


The right to freedom of expression under ECHR Article 10 was subject to countervailing rights and principles of English law, in particular in this case English law’s desire to uphold contractual obligations. The injunction would therefore be granted.


Article 10 rights of freedom of expression can be limited by contractual terms.