Is Social Media Challenging the Authority of the Judiciary? Rethinking the Effectiveness of Anonymised and Super Injunctions in the Age of the Internet

Open access

Abstract

While freedom of expression has a long and well-established constitutional foundation as a self-governing concept, the right to privacy is a relatively recent norm in the constitutional orientation of the United Kingdom. Until the Human Rights Act 1998, the right to privacy had little standing constitutionally. Following on from this standard-setting, notably, both rights have taken on added importance in our modern technological society. Nevertheless, the formulation of privacy into a legal doctrine of human rights seems to have presented a fundamental tension in relation to freedom of expression. As a matter of legal logic, the courts, through a consideration of the law, examine the substantive legal issues in terms of a balancing process, whereby the interest in privacy is balanced against the interest in freedom of expression. It is a matter of broad principle for the courts to rely on injunctions as ancillary instruments of equity in doing justice in this field. Significantly, while the elementary norm of an injunction is that it commands an act that the court regards as an essential constituent to justice, unfortunately, many contend that judges have gone beyond this point, and this is shifting opinions. In fact, serious concerns have been frequently expressed about the extent to which the rich are easily able to invoke the discretion of the court to grant injunctions in a fashion that remains an antithesis to the principle of open justice and also undermines the exercise of freedom of speech. While this suspicion is not entirely new to matters of procedural law, the recent case, PJS v News Group Newspapers turned on this controversy. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to examine the complexity of celebrity privacy injunctions in the age of the internet and question its relevance, as we outline the extent to which social media is challenging the authority of the state (judiciary) in this direction.

1. A v. the United Kingdom [2003] 36 EHHR 51.

2. A Treatise on the Law and Practice of Injunctions (Philadelphia, Blackstone, 3rd ed. 1889)

3. Aday, S., Farrell, H., Lynch, M., Sides J., and Freelon, D., “New Media and Conflict After the Arab Spring” (Washington DC. United States Institute of Peace, Peaceworks No. 80. Blogs and Bullets II, 2012).

4. Abril, P. S., “A (My)Space of One’s Own: On Privacy and Online Social Networks” (2007) 6 Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property 1, 73.

5. Ahmet Yildirim v Turkey (ECHR 548, No.3111/10, 2012).

6. AMM v HXW [2010] EWHC 2457 (QB).

7. American Cyanimid Co. v Ethicon Ltd [1957] AC 396.

8. Attorney General v Leveller Magazine [1979] A.C. 440.

9. Attorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No.2) [1990] 1 A.C. 109.

a. Attorney-General v Newspaper Publishing Plc [1988] Ch 333.

10. Attorney-General v Punch Ltd & Another [2003] 1 A.C. 1046.

11. Axen v Germany (A/72) (1984) 6 E.H.R.R. 195.

12. A-G v Leveller. [A-G v Leveller Magazine Ltd [1979] A.C. 440.

13. Beecham Group Ltd v Bristol Laboratories Pty Ltd (1968) 118 CLR 618.

14. Bender, P., Privacies of Life (New York, Harper’s Magazine, April 1974).

15. Bender, P., Emerson, T., Haber, D., Dorsen, N., and Neuborne, B., Political and Civil Rights in the United States (Vol. 1, Fourth Edn. Little, Brown and Company; 1976).

16. Bernstein v. Skyviews Ltd. [1978] Q.B. 479.

17. Beaney, W., “The Right to Privacy and American Law” (1966) 31 Law and Contemporary Problems 2, 253.

18. Black’s Law Dictionary (ed.) Bryan Garner (Thomson West; 10th Edition, 2014).

19. Black’s Law Dictionary (West Publishing Co., Rev. 5th ed. 1979).

20. Bloustein, E., “Privacy as an Aspect of Human Dignity: An Answer to Dean Prosser” (1964) 39 The New York University Law Review 962.

21. Bonnard v Perryman [1891] 2 Ch 269.

a. Bradlaugh v Gossett (1884) 12 QBD 271.

22. Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665 (1972).

23. Buchanan v Jennings (Attorney General of New Zealand intervening) [2005] 1 AC 115.

24. Busuttil, G., Free Speech v Privacy – The Big Debate, Preventing Publication of Private Information – When you can and when can cannot (London, Sweet & Maxwell, 2009).

25. Campbell, C., “The Court of Equity-A Theory of its Jurisdiction” (1903) 15 Green Bag 108.

26. Cayne –v- Global Natural Resources Plc [1984] 1 All ER 225.

27. Chanel Ltd v F W Woolworth & Co Ltd [1985] 1 WLR 485.

28. Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Official Journal of the European Communities, 2000/C 364/01, 18.12.2000. 261 U.N.T.S. 140).

29. Chroust, AH., The “Common Good” and the Problem of “Equity” (1942-143) 18 Notre Dame Law Review 2, 114.

30. Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982.

31. Citron, D.K., “Cyber Civil Rights” (2009) 89 Boston University Law Review 1, 61.

a. Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (As amended by Protocols Nos. 11 and 14, 4 November 1950, ETS 5. 213 UNTS 221).

32. Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (Lugano Convention) 28 ILM 620 (1989).

33. Cooley, T.M., A Treatise on the Law of Torts, or the Wrongs which arise Independently of Contract (Chicago, Callaghan & Company, 2nd Edn., 1888).

a. Co-operative Insurance Society Ltd v Argyll Stores (Holdings) Ltd [1998] AC 1 [1997] 3 All ER 297.

34. Cream Holdings and Imutran v Uncaged Campaigns Limited [2001] EMLR 563.

35. CTB v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2011] EWHC 1326 (QB) and 1334 (QB).

36. Dacre, P., Editor-in-Chief of Associated Newspapers, in 2008 - Speech to the Society of Editors, 9 November 2008.

37. Daubney v Cooper (1829) 109 E.R. 438; 10 B & C 237.

38. Diennet v France (1996) 21 E.H.R.R. 554.

39. Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000.

a. European Commission Directive 2000/31.

b. Emerson, T., “The Right of Privacy and Freedom of the Press” (1979) 14 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 2, 329.

40. European Union Accession to the ECHR: In The Opinion of the Advocate General in the CJEU Joined Cases C-203/15 and C-698/15 of the Tele2 AB.

41. Ex parte Wason (1869) LR 4 QB 573.

42. ETK v News Group Newspapers [2011] EWCA Civ 439.

43. French Code of Civil Procedure (Nouveau Code de Procedure Civile, Le Code De Procedure Civile Francais Traduit En Anglais) in English, (Ed) 2016.

44. Films Rover International Ltd v Cannon Film Sales Ltd [1986] 3 All ER 772.

45. G & G v Wikimedia [2010] EMLR 14.

46. Gabbatt A., and Taylor, M., Scottish Newspaper Identifies Injunction Footballer (The Guardian, 22 May 2011).

47. Gavison, R., “Privacy and the Limits of Law” (1980) 89 Yale Law Journal 421.

48. Gerety, T., “Redefining Privacy” (1977) 12 Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review 2, 233.

49. Glancy, D., “The Invention of the Right to Privacy” (1979) 21 Arizona Law Review 1, 1.

50. Glancy, D., “The Invention of the Right to Privacy” (1979) 21 Arizona Law Review 1, 1.

51. Gladstone, J.A., Determining Jurisdiction in Cyberspace: The “Zippo” Test or the “Effects” Test? (Informing Science InSITE - “Where Parallels Intersect”, June 2003).

52. Godard v. Gray [1870] LR 6 QB. 139.

53. Goodwin v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2011] EMLR 502.

54. Gray v UVW [2010] EWHC 2637 (QB).

55. Groleau, JP., “Interlocutory Injunctions: Revisiting the Three-Pronged Test” (2008) 53 McGill Law Journal 269.

56. Halsbury’s Laws of England 4th Ed. Reprint Vol. 8 issue 2.

57. Handyside v. United Kingdom [1976] 1 EHRR 737.

58. Harris v Harris [2001] 2 F.L.R. 895.

59. Hessel Yntema, “The Comity Doctrine” (1966) 65 Michigan Law Review 1, 9.

60. Hobbs v Tinling and Company Limited [1929] 2 K.B. 1.

61. Houlditch v. Marquis [1834] 8 Bligh N.S. 301; 2 CI & F. 470.

62. Housing Group-South Ltd v Harris [2005] 4 ALL E.R. 1051 at 72.

63. Huber, U., Praelectiones Juris Civilis (Lectures on the Civil Law) on the Institute (Francofurtum ad Moenum, Gleditsch, first published in 1687).

64. Huber, U., De Jure Civitatis, Lib. III, Sect. IV, Cap. I., 14.

a. Human Rights Act 1998. Chapter 42.

65. Hansard, HC Deb, 23 May 2011.

66. Jack, M., Hutton, M., Johnson, C., Millar, D., Patrick, S., Sandall, A., (Eds) Parliamentary Practice (Erskine May: Butterworths Law, 23rd Revised Edn., 2004).

67. James, F., and Hazard, G., Civil Procedure (Boston, MA., Little Brown Books, 3rd Edn., 1985).

68. Jones v Pacaya Rubber & Produce Co Ltd [1911] 1 K.B. 455.

69. Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege (House of Lords and the House of Commons, HL 43-I / HC 214-I, Session 1998-1999).

70. JIH v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 42

71. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967).

72. Kaye v Robertson and Sports Newspapers Ltd [1991] FSR 62.

a. Kennedy, K., Equitable Remedies and Principled Discretion: The Michigan Experience (1997) 74 University of Detroit Mercy Law Review 4, 609.

73. Kittle, W., “Courts of Law and Equity-Why They Exist and Why They Differ” (1919-1920) 26 West Virginia Law Quarterly 21.

74. Koopman, S., (Ed.) Newspapers in International Librarianship: Papers Presented by the Newspapers at International Federation of Library Association General Conferences, (The Hague, Walter de Gruyter & Co. 2003).

75. Lester, A., Five Ideas to Fight for: How Our Freedom is Under Threat and Why it Matters (London-Bloomsbury, Oneworld Publications, 2016).

76. Lorenzen, E., “Huber’s De Conflictu Legum” (1919) 13 Illinois Law Review 375.

77. Lonrho v Fayed [1993] 1 WLR 1489.

78. Main, T., “Traditional Equity and Contemporary Procedure” (2003) 78 Washington Law Review 429.

79. Markesinis, B., The German Law of Torts: A Comparative Treatise (Oxford; Portland, Oregon, Hart Publishing, 2nd Edn., 1990).

80. McGhee J., (Ed.) Snell’s Equity (Thomson Sweet & Maxwell, 2005).

81. McGarrigle, P., “The Role of Foreign Judgments in Patent Litigation: A Perspective and Strategic Overview” (1998) 39 IDEA 1, 107.

82. McKennitt v Ash [2006] EWCA Civ 1714.

83. McKennitt v Ash [2008] QB 73.

84. Mcleod, R., “Injunction Junction: Remembering the Proper Function and Form of Equitable Relief in Trademark Law” (2006) 5 Duke Law & Technology Review 1.

85. Merwin, E., The Principles of Equity and Equity Pleading (Indianapolis, Bowen-Merril, 1895).

86. Mill, J.S., On Liberty (London, Longman, Roberts, & Green Co. 1859).

87. Morgan v Mich. [1737] 1 ATK. 408.

88. Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2008] EWHC 687 (QB).

89. Murray v MGN [2008] EWCA Civ 446, [2009] Ch 481.

90. Neill, E., Rites of Privacy and the Privacy Trade: On the Limits of Protection for the Self (Montreal McGill Queen’s University Press, 2001).

a. New Patriotic Party v. Ghana Broadcasting Corp., (30 November 1993, Writ No. 1/93).

91. Ntuli v Donald [2010] EWCA Civ 1276.

92. Offences under the Juries Act 1974.

93. Offences under the Contempt of Court Act 1981.

94. Paul, J., “The Transformation of International Comity” (2008) 71 Law and Contemporary Problems 3, 19.

95. Pepper v Hart [1993] AC 593.

96. PJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2016] UKSC 26.

97. PJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 100.

98. Piggott F., The Law and Practice of the Courts of the United Kingdom Relating to Foreign Judgments and Parties Out of the Jurisdiction (London, W. Clowes and Sons, 2nd Ed., 1884).

99. Polaroid Corporation v Eastman Kodak Co [1977] RPC 379.

100. Plucknett, T., A Concise History of the Common Law (Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, 5th ed. 1956).

101. Plunkett, J., Imogen Thomas “Vindicated’ after Footballer Drops Blackmail Claim” (The Guardian 15 December 2011).

102. Prosser, W., “Privacy” (1960) 48 California Law Review 3, 383.

103. Prince Albert v Strange (1849) 41 ER 1171, 1 Mac & G 25 at 47.

104. Practice Guidance: Interim Non-Disclosure Orders (London, Master of the Rolls with effect from 1 August 2011).

105. Privacy and Injunctions (London, House of Lords House of Commons Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions, HL Paper 273, HC 1443, 12 March 2012).

106. Practice Guidance: Committal for Contempt [2013] 1 WLR 1326, dated 3 May 2013.

107. Practice Guidance (Committal Proceedings: Open Court) (No. 2) [2013] 1 WLR 1753, dated 4 June 2013.

108. President’s Circular: Committals Family Court Practice 2024 at 2976, dated 2 August 2013.

109. R v Chaytor & Others [2010] 3 WLR 1707.

110. R v Sussex Justices, Ex parte McCarthy ([1924] 1 KB 256, [1923] All ER Rep 233).

111. R (Binyam Mohamed) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2010] EWCA Civ 65.

112. R v Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies, ex parte New Cross Building Society [1984] Q.B. 227.

113. R v Legal Aid Board ex parte Kaim Todner [1999] 1 QB 966.

114. Raack, D., “A History of Injunctions in England Before 1700” (1986) 61 Indiana Law Journal 4, 539.

115. Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions [1999] 7 BHRC 375.

116. Regina v. Connor and another (Appellants) (On Appeal from the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)). Regina v. Mirza (Appellant) (On Appeal from the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)) (Conjoined Appeals) [2004] UKHL 2.

117. Re Guardian News and Media Ltd [2010] UKSC 1, [2010] 2 WLR 325.

118. Re JR 38 [2015] UKSC 42, [2015] 3 WLR 155.

119. Re S (A Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) [2004] UKHL 47; [2005] 1 AC 593.

120. Re S (A Child) [2005] 1 AC 593.

121. Rembar, C., The Law of the Land: The Evolution of Our Legal System (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1980).

122. Report of the Committee on Super-Injunctions: Super-Injunctions, Anonymised Injunctions and Open Justice (London, Master of the Rolls, 20 May 2011).

123. Reynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd [2001] 1 AC 12.

124. Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws, Reporter’s Note to Comment g (1971).

125. Richards N., and Solove, D., “Prosser’s Privacy Law: A Mixed Legacy” (2010) 98 California Law Review 6, 1187.

126. RJW & SJW v The Guardian News and Media Ltd ([2009] EWHC 2540 (QB).

127. Rozenberg, J., Privacy and the Press (New York, Oxford University Press, 2004).

128. Sabbagh D., and Halliday, J., Injunction Remains Despite MP’s Revelation (The Guardian, 23 May 2011).

129. Scott v Scott [1913] A.C. 417.

130. Sedley, S., Lions under the Throne: Essays on the History of English Public Law (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015).

131. Sevems, R., “Nineteenth Century Equity: A Study in Law Reform” (1934) 12 Chicago-Kent Law Review 2, 81.

132. Sipple v. Chronicle Publ’g Co., 201 Cal. Rptr. 665 (1984).

133. Social Media and Criminal Offences (London, House of Lords, HL 37, Communications Committee, First Report of Session 2014-2015).

134. Solove, D., “Conceptualizing Privacy” (2002) 90 California Law Review 4, 1087.

135. Smith v Peters [1875] L.R. Eq. 511.

136. Spry, I., The Principles of Equitable Remedies (London, Sweet & Maxwell, 8th Edn., 2010).

137. Stephens, B., Chomsky J.B., Green, J., Hoffman, P., and Ratner M., (Eds.) International Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts (Martinus, Nijhoff, 2d Rev. Edition, 2008).

138. Stockdale v Hansard (1839) 9 Ad & E 1.

139. Stuart Sime, A Practical Approach to Civil Procedure (New York, Oxford University Press, 11 Edition, 2014).

140. Subrin, S., “How Equity Conquered Common Law: The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in Historical Perspective (1987) 135 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 909.

141. Terry v Persons Unknown [2010] 1 FCR 659.

142. The Case of Barbulescu v Romania [2016] Referral to the Grand Chamber (Application No. 61496/08).

143. The Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (SI1998/3132).

144. The County Courts Act 1984.

145. The Data Protection Act 1998, c. 29.

146. The Defamation Act 2013, c. 26.

147. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Prebble v Television New Zealand Ltd [1995] 1 AC 321.

a. The Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression David Kaye (Geneva, Human Rights Council, UN Doc. A/HRC/29/32, 22 May 2015).

148. The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression (Frank La Rue, Geneva, United Nations Human Rights Council, UN Doc– A/HRC/23/40, 17 April 2013).

149. The Parliamentary Papers Act 1840, Chapter 93 and 4 Vict.

150. The Senior Courts Act 1971.

151. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, c. 23.

152. The White Book (Vol. 1, Sweet & Maxwell, 2011).

153. Thierer A., and Crews Jr., C., Who Rules the Net? Internet Governance and Jurisdiction (Washington, DC. Cato Institute 2003).

154. Thevarajah v Riordan [2016] 1 WLR 76.

155. Times Newspapers Ltd (Nos 1 and 2) v The United Kingdom [2009] EMLR 14 (Reference Application Nos. 3002/03 and 23676/03).

a. Von Hannover v Germany (No. 1) [2004] EMLR 379; (2005) 40 EHRR 1.

156. Wainwright & Anor v. Home Office [2003] UKHL 53.

157. Warren, S., and Brandeis L., “The Right to Privacy” (1980) 4 Harvard Law Review 5, 193.

a. Weller v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 1176.

158. White, RW., “Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Equity” (1982) 9 Sydney Law Review 3 630.

159. Wrexham County Borough Council v Berry [2003] UKHL 26; [2003] 2 AC 558.

160. Yahoo!, Inc. v. La Ligue Contre LeRacisme et L’Antisemitisme, declaratory judgment of 7th November 2001, CRI 2002, 13 with remarks by Wittow, 169 F.Supp.2d 1181 (N. D. Cal., 2001).

161. Zuckerman, A., “Super Injunctions – Curiosity-Suppressant Orders Undermine the Rule of Law” (2010) 29 Civil Justice Quarterly 2, 131.

1. The Code for Crown Prosecutors, 2013. Available at: <https://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/docs/code_2013_accessible_english.pdf> [Accessed 1 October 2016].

2. Final Guidelines for Prosecutions Involving Social Media Communications (DPP, 20/06/2013). Available at: <http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/a_to_c/communications_sent_via_social_media/> [Accessed 1 October 2016].

3. The Huffington Post. Available at: <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/social-media-arab-spring/> [Accessed 1 October 2016].

5. “Privacy Injunctions Unsustainable, says Cameron”. BBC website, 23 May 2011. Available at: <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13498504>[Accessed 1 July 2016].

6. Social Media Prosecution Guidelines set out by Crown Office. BBC website, 14 December 2014. Available at: <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-30309411> [Accessed 1 October 2016].

7. Sunday Herald (Scottish Newspaper, 22 May 2011 Edition). Available at: <http://www.webdoodles.org/webimages/sundayherald22may2011.jpg> [Accessed 1 July 2016].

8. Sunday Herald Names Footballer Accused on Twitter. BBC website, 22 May 2011. Available at: <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13491086> [Accessed 1 July 2016].

Journal Information

Target Group experts in the field of Romanian Law

Cited By

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 140 140 39
PDF Downloads 126 126 41