On 1 October 2010 the singer Van Morrison was granted a privacy injunction against the “News of the World” by the High Court in Northern Ireland.   Mr Justice Gillen held that a proposed article and photographs went “beyond the margin or appreciation allowed to a free press“, describing them as an “unacceptable intrusion“.   The proposed article included details about Mr Morrison’s home, its value, layout and furnishing, together with the input into its management by businesswoman Gigi Lee.

The Judge said the value of Mr Morrison’s home, its location, the work carried out on it at the behest of Ms Lee, detailed descriptions of furnishings and decorations, guests to the house, the delivery of food, and the state of his marriage were all “classic illustrations” of intrusion into their private lives.  He said that

“Whilst it may well be that a particular readership may have an interest – prurient or otherwise – in certain aspects of the lives of celebrities… this is not the same as saying that these are matters of public interest”.

However, the Judge stressed that context was everything and the rights of the press must be “jealously guarded and looked at in each individual case“.  He also acknowledged that more compelling circumstances could conceivably arise in future where a court might determine freedom of expression outstripped the right to privacy.

However, the judge refused to grant a “super-injunction”.  He said

“I am not presently minded to grant a super injunction against persons unnamed in the terms sought by the plaintiffs concerning the private lives or relationships of the plaintiffs in general. This is too wide an ambit.”

There is a news report of the decision on the BBC website but the judgment is not, at present, available.  There is also a post about the case on the “Pogo Was Right” blog.

In January 2010 was reported that Mr Morrison had refuted claims in the “Mail on Sunday” that he had become a new father, after it emerged that Ms Lee had recently given birth.   It was reported that he was launching legal action against the newspaper which had linked him with the Texan woman and her baby.