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BBC CoJo: When a super injunction is not a super injunction

Writing on the BBC College of Journalism blog, Judith Townend says sometimes journalists cry ‘super injunction’ when they mean privacy injunction.

A super injunction is one whose very existence cannot be reported – as in the cases involving Trafigura (2009) and Terry (2010).

As media lawyer Mark Thompson explained in a footnote on the Inforrm media law blog last year: “The ‘super injunction’ part of the order is the restraint on publication of the existence of the proceeding.”

Townend also explains the recent case of ZAM v CFW, despite media reports to the contrary, did not involve a super injunction.

Contrary to what you might expect, it appears that there are very few privacy injunctions against the media directly.

The public judgments suggest that the injunctions are often against blackmailers, and it is rarely contended that there is a public interest in the publication of the information.

Townend also has a compiled a list of the number of privacy injunctions here on the Inforrm’s Blog.

There appear to have been 11 privacy injunction hearings in the first three months of 2011, seven of which resulted in ‘public’ – although not always ‘published’ – judgments and two in which judgment is awaited.

She goes on to say there is a need for more information.

So where does all that leave us? While journalists should continue to raise questions about ‘super injunctions’ and the use of anonymous injunctions restricting the media’s ability to report court proceedings, there is a more pressing need for raw information direct from the courts.

The full BBC CoJo post is at this link.

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