Ramsay father-in-law fails in Court of Appeal

Eady J decison to refuse privacy injunction in relation to secret second family upheld

The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of Eady J from 1 December 2010 decline to grant an injunction to Christopher Hutcheson, the father-in-law of Gordon Ramsay, to restrain publication of the fact that he has for many years kept a secret second family.

The second family was no longer secret to the first family, but was not widely known. All children from both families were adults. The Sun wished to publish the information in support of an allegation of wrongdoing against Mr Hutcheson, connected to his dismissal from Gordon Ramsay Holdings in November 2010.

Eady J had held in December 2010 that there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in the fact of the second family and, even if there was, given the public interest argument, and the fact that the Claimant had made public statements concerning the family feud, he was not satisfied that the Claimant was likely to succeed at trial.

The Court of Appeal announced their decision at the hearing, but have yet to give reasons. It will be interesting to see whether the Court of Appeal grapple with some of the issues of principle involved, or whether they decline to intervene on the basis that this was essentially a balancing exercise for the first instance judge.

5RB‘s Adrienne Page QC and Jacob Dean (instructed by Farrer & Co) appeared for News Group Newspapers Ltd and Mark Warby QC (instructed by Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP) appeared for Associated Newspapers Ltd.

William Bennett appeared at first instance for MGN and Victoria Jolliffe for Associated Newspapers Ltd.