News: Cabinet Minister’s 17 year old son gets privacy injunction but not anonymity – Keith Mathieson

15 02 2012

The son of Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, has obtained an injunction against the publishers of the Daily Star Sunday.  The judgment is available here ([2012] EWHC 239 (QB)).  The injunction was granted to restrain publication of a story which it is alleged would have breached his right to privacy.  The application was made last Saturday 11 February 2012 to Mr Justice Lindblom.

The judgment does not of course contain any details of the allegedly private information.  The judge was satisfied that Jonathan Spelman had a reasonable expectation of privacy and he rejected the newspaper’s submission that this was a libel claim masquerading as a privacy claim such that injunctive relief would be inappropriate.  It is difficult to make much of the judge’s analysis of the public interest considerations since the judgment is understandably opaque, but he expressed himself satisfied that “the defendant’s publication of its story at this stage would not of itself advance the public interest claimed for it to a material degree”.

Mr Spelman, through his parents as litigation friends, sought an order that his identity should be kept secret.  That application was rejected by reference to the Master of the Rolls Practice Guidance: Interim Non-Disclosure Orders.

The matter is scheduled to return to court tomorrow, 16 February – listed before Mr Justice Tugendhat, Court 14 .  The Daily Star’s report of the ”gagging order” is here.

Keith Mathieson is a partner at media law firm RPC where he acts for a wide range of national and international newspapers, book and magazine publishers and other media companies.

This post was originally published on the RPC Privacy Blog and is reproduced with permission and thanks


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20 02 2012
Law and Media Round Up – 20 February 2012 « Inforrm's Blog

[...] Lindblom J handed down judgment in Spelman v Express Newspapers ([2012] EWHC 239 (QB)). We had an Inforrm post on this decision. The return date was on Thursday 16 February 2012 before Tugendhat J. The matter [...]

27 02 2012
Law and Media Round Up – 27 February 2012 « Inforrm's Blog

[...] (QB)) he refused to renew the injunction which had been granted to the claimant (see the earlier Inforrm report). The second decision concerned the date for service of the Particulars of Claim ([2012] EWHC 392 [...]

6 03 2012
News: Cabinet Minister’s 17 year old son abandons privacy injunction appeal, information disclosed « Inforrm's Blog

[...] to the 17 year old son of Environment Minister, Caroline Spelman ([2012] EWHC 239 (QB)). We had a post about the decision.  The return date for the injunction was 16 February 2012 and the application [...]

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