The appeal in the case JIH v News Group Newspapers ([2010] EWHC 2818 (QB)) was heard today by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Lady Justice Smith.  We have already blogged about this decision which was a judgment handed down on 5 November  2010 following an application for a consent order in a privacy action. Although the parties agreed, as part of the terms of settlement, to a continuation of the anonymity provisions already granted, the judge declined to continue the anonymity order.

At a subsequent hearing the judge refused a renewed application for an anonymity order following publication of certain information in the media (see our post here).  The judge subsequently gave a second judgment, JIH v News Group Newspapers (No.2) [2010] EWHC 2979 (QB))

The claimant applied for permission to appeal on 24 November 2010 (see our post here) and it was ordered to be heard by a three judge court, with the appeal to follow.

The hearing took place today, some 7 weeks after the application for permission to appeal was lodged.

The first application was by a person in court to use Twitter following the Lord Chief Justice’s recent interim guidance.  This is, as far as we know, the first such application in the Court of Appeal.  The Master of the Rolls refused the application on the basis that the hearing related private information and something that should remain private could be made public through Twitter.

Opening the application, Hugh Tomlinson QC for the claimant said the case was not about the private information – which the court had held should not be published – but about the right to open justice the public had a right to know why the injunction was granted but no right to know anything about the private information. He argued that judgment on the matter could refer to the information but all the parties should be anonymised.

Richard Spearman QC for News Group Newspapers argued that the principles of open justice were best met by the court naming the claimant in a privacy case.

The Court received written submissions from Guardian News and Media and from the Media Lawyers Association.

Judgment was reserved at the end of the two and a quarter hour hearing and is expected to be handed down within the next few weeks.