Supreme Court Upholds Privacy Ruling

High Profile Case Brings Injunctions Under The Spotlight


The Supreme Court has today ruled that an injunction banning the naming of a celebrity involved in an alleged extra-marital relationship should stay in place.

Known in court as PJS, the celebrity successfully appealed against an earlier Court of Appeal ruling lifting the ban on the name being published within the  media in England and Wales.

The story had already been published in Scotland, America and Canada and the Sun on Sunday argued it should be able to run it also.

In the judgement, four of the five justices decided there was an absence of any public interest to justify publishing the man's identity. 

Expert Opinion
"This decision will surprise many, as it was thought that due to widespread publication of the identities of ‘PJS’ and ‘YMA’ outside England and Wales, particularly on the internet meant, that the interim injunction was rendered effectively worthless. However, the Supreme Court has found that there is a difference between the identity of the celebrity being revealed on internet pages and social media and what the court called the 'media storm' that would follow, both in the newspapers and online, if the injunction were to be lifted.

"The Supreme Court criticised the Court of Appeal’s decision to lift the injunction commenting that it had given too much weight to the rights of freedom of expression and insufficient weight to PJS’s rights of privacy. The Supreme Court was keen to point out that these rights should always be balanced and neither has preference over the other; there was simply insufficient public interest in the sexual exploits of a celebrity to justify publication.

"Following the Ryan Giggs case it looked as though the age of celebrity injunctions was at an end, with the internet and social media effectively rendering the embargo on publication of Giggs and his activities pointless. Following today’s decision, that is not the case. Quite to contrary, the Supreme Court’s decision is likely to mean that far more celebrities will now have the confidence and fortitude in looking to the Courts for privacy injunctions to stop details of their private lives being published."
Georgie Collins, Partner