Privacy Injunctions


Court of Appeal signals return of privacy injunctions
People in open relationships had their privacy rights reinforced after senior judges ruled yesterday that a well-known figure in the entertainment industry can keep his extramarital “threesome” secret.

Appeal judges said that the man, who can only be named as PJS, was entitled to a legal ban to prevent a Sunday newspaper reporting the “open relationship” enjoyed by him and his married partner, known as YMA.

They ruled that the man’s right to a “private and family life” outweighed the Sun on Sunday’s right to publish an article about his adultery, under laws on freedom of expression. Their judgment heralds the return of the privacy injunction and was the first such case to reach the Court of Appeal for five years.

Law firms said that the privacy injunction is “creeping back” with high-profile individuals trying to stop the media publishing details about their private lives.

Niri Shan, head of media at Taylor Wessing, a London law firm, said that the case “demonstrates the willingness of the UK courts to move with the times when considering issues relating to privacy and personal relationships.

“A few years ago the Court of Appeal might have considered the idea of a committed open relationship to be a contradiction in terms. In this latest decision however the Court has accepted that even public individuals are entitled to keep the most personal aspects of their private lives private, provided that they are not actively deceitful in the way they choose to portray themselves.

“The fact that a famous person choses to engage in unconventional sexual behaviour does not necessarily mean that there is a public interest in details of that behaviour being published – even though the public may well be interested in reading about it.”

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