- Originally a remedy for blackmail.
- A temporary injunction granted pending trial and final judgement.
- The hearing to gain one is anonymous and takes place in private.
- It prevents the person subject to it discussing both the confidential information and the existence of the injunction.
- It also prevents third parties discussing it.
- Breaching the injunction is a criminal offence under contempt of court law and can result in fines, imprisonment or seizure of property.
In Relation to Freedom of Expression
Superinjunctions restrict freedom of expression and are unpopular with the media.
John Terry: This case saw a change in the granting of Superinjunctions; a decision that freedom of expression is more important. Especially where the claimant only wants to protect their income stream rather than their privacy.
Report of the Committee on Superinjunctions 2011
1. Parties not applying for superinjunctions anymore-and where superinjunctions are granted, they are removed on appeal or active only for a short period of time.
2. It has been confirmed that it is not a permanent form of protection. There must be review dates included in superinjunctions. Longer superinjunctions can be provided where necessary.
Parliament and modern technology have undermined superinjunctions in the past.
Trafigura: Labour MP Paul Farrelly introduced the topic of illegal dumping on the Ivory Coast by Trafigura into Parliamentary debate. This information was subject to superinjunction, but the Bill of Rights 1689 allows free debate in Parliament; meaning that the MP was protected from prosecution. The media then reported on the debate, and argued that they did not breach the superinjunction because they didn’t report on the court case, which the injunction covered. Trafigura dropped the injunction following this.
Ryan Giggs: A superinjunction prevented Imogen Thomas from revealing which professional footballer had been having an affair with her. Twitter users undermined this injunction by naming Ryan Giggs as the one involved in the affair. Because of the number of users that had breached the injunction prosecution was impossible. A Scottish newspaper then named Giggs, and faced no consequences because it wasn’t subject to the injunction (it was only valid in England and Wales). Finally, John Hemming, an MP, named Ryan Giggs in May 2011 in Parliamentary debate.
These recent issues show that the internet and Parliament are seriously damaging the effectiveness of privacy protection. The Max Mosely case shows us that there is no effective remedy for a breach of privacy, and the John Terry case shows that it is now harder to get a superinjunction to protect privacy.