Claimants denied anonymity in strip-club covert filming case

An application by nine lap-dancers for anonymity and expedited trial in a privacy and data protection action was refused by the High Court

11 claimants (nine personal and two corporate claimants) seek remedies for misuse of private information and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.  The claim concerns covertly recorded footage from two Spearmint Rhino ‘sexual entertainment venues’ (SEVs).  Subject to complying with the terms of any licence, it is lawful to operate, or for adults to work as performers in, an SEV.  Claimants 1 to 9 are performers in the venues.

The defendants, the first two of whom are a campaigning group opposed to SEVs and the group’s CEO, commissioned private investigators, the third and fourth defendants, to covertly record footage to be used as evidence to oppose the renewal of the venues’ licences.

The claimants made an application for an interim injunction to restrain the defendants from publishing any of the footage, directions for a speedy trial and for the identities of the first to ninth claimants to be anonymised.  Agreed undertakings removed the need for a decision as to interim restraint.

Having heard from the claimants’ counsel that the personal claimants’ concern was not knowledge of their being performers at Spearmint Rhino but that details from the secretly recorded footage would come into the public domain, Nicklin J refused the anonymity application as being premature.  Application for expedition was also refused.

The judgment was handed down without including the names of the claimants pending appeal.  In the absence of an appeal or if an appeal is unsuccessful, a further copy of the judgment will be issued with the claimants’ names.

The judgment can be downloaded from the ‘Files’ link below.  View the 5RB case report.

5RB’s Jane Phillips (instructed by DWF Law LLP) appeared for the third and fourth defendants.