Court of Appeal upholds undertakings in online harassment case

The Court of Appeal has reversed a decision of the High Court refusing to accept specific anti-harassment undertakings from Dr Christopher Backhouse, who was accused of a prolonged online harassment campaign against Dr Erica Smith.

In the initial settlement, Dr Backhouse paid approximately £120,000 in damages and costs and made various undertakings to the court. Mr Justice Nicklin expressed concerns about the breadth of three of the undertakings and refused to accept them. The Claimant appealed.

The Court of Appeal unanimously allowed the appeal. Lady Justice Asplin, delivering the judgment, found that there was no impermissible vagueness and breadth to the undertakings and found the restrictions to be proportionate. This decision is a landmark case on undertakings made to the court and reinforces the weight afforded to agreements reached in settlements.

5RB’s Ben Hamer (led by Hugh Tomlinson KC) acted for the Appellant/Claimant, Dr Smith (instructed by Brett Wilson).

See the Brett Wilson case report, here.