1) The Judge was not satisfied that the Second Defendant had been served with proceedings, and the hearing should not proceed against him without notice.
The Judge accepted there was a real risk that the Second Defendant might, nonetheless, have come into possession of the case papers and that unless restrained he might disseminate sensitive information contained in the papers. Thus the Judge granted an order restraining the Second Defendant from publishing, communicating or disclosing such papers (with certain limited exceptions).
2) Although the First Defendant had been served with proceedings, he had not appeared at the hearing and had given no reason for not appearing. The Judge exercised her discretion under CPR 23.11(1) to proceed in his absence.
3) The hearing should not be held in private; a more limited order was appropriate. Making public the identity of the Claimant and those he represented and/or the names of the websites and their content would be likely to lead to others accessing the material giving rise to a risk of further harassment. Thus the Judge was satisfied that it was strictly necessary to make an order withholding those matters from the public.
4) The basis for the Claimant continuing the proceedings in a representative capacity was analogous to that in The Law Society v Kordowski  EWHC 3185 (QB),  EMLR 2. However, the Judge was not satisfied that the proposed category of “future employees of the firm” was sufficiently certain. The Claimant could proceed in a representative capacity on behalf of all the other represented parties.
5) Granting an interim injunction against the First Defendant:
a) There was evidence that the offending websites and their content had been drawn to the attention of the Claimant and the other represented individuals, or it was to be inferred that this was likely to occur. One posting by the First Defendant had the express intent of attracting the attention of the Claimant. Citing Dowson v Chief Constable of Northumbria Police [2010 EWHC 2612 (QB), Thompson v James  EWHC 515 (QB) and The Law Society v Kordowski the Judge found that the actions of the First Defendant constituted a course of conduct.
b) The allegations included in the material on the websites were serious and offensive. They had caused real concern and apprehension within the firm. Some solicitors had received enquiries about the websites from actual or potential clients. They crossed the line into “torment” of the subjects, or vilification. The First Defendant knew that his conduct constituted harassment.
c) On the evidence before the court there appeared to be no defence to the claim for harassment.
d) An interim injunction affecting freedom of expression should not be granted “unless the court is satisfied that the applicant is likely to establish that publication should not be allowed” (s.12 Human Rights Act 1998). Applying the test in Cream Holdings Ltd v Banerjee  1 AC 253, that “likely” means “probably (more likely than not)”, the Judge was satisfied that the Claimant was likely to establish that publication should not be allowed.