Home > Media > Super-injunctions: artificial construct or legal term?

Super-injunctions: artificial construct or legal term?

In March this year, Sir David Eady was reported to have told a conference at City University:

Super-injunctions are something of an artificial construct, blown up by the media recently. I’d never heard the term till it was mentioned till a few months ago.

The term is now used by the courts. The first appearance in a law report was in John Terry v Persons Unknown (2010):

Orders have from time to time been made prohibiting the disclosure of the fact that an order has been made and providing for sealing the whole court file. Some newspapers refer to these as ‘super injunctions’. I shall consider such orders below.

Then in AMM v HXW (October 2010) at para [49], Tugendat referred to an application for a “so-called super injunction” in another case. A couple of weeks later Tugenhat made another reference to “a so-called super-injunction” in Gray v UVW (October 2010). In November, in the Howard Donald case the Court of Appeal seemed to embrace the term more directly, with Maurice Kay LJ stating:

On 26 April 2010 Eady J granted an anonymised claimant an injunction restraining an anonymised defendant from doing specified but unpublishable things and further restraining the defendant and others from publishing the fact that the injunction had been sought and obtained. This type of relief has become known as a superinjunction.

In the judgment, the term “super-injunction” is used in several places, eg: “… the next question is whether it should retain its superinjunction and anonymity elements” and “Superinjunctions attract understandable controversy. Sometimes it is the product of more heat than light.”

The point is that the term “super-injunction” is no longer qualified as being “so-called” or as a term used by the newspapers. Instead, the Court of Appeal is itself using the term itself to describe this type of relief. So it seesm to have gone from being an “artificial construct” used by the press to a legal term used by the court.

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Categories: Media
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