The son of Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, has obtained an injunction against the publishers of the Daily Star Sunday.  The judgment is available here ([2012] EWHC 239 (QB)).  The injunction was granted to restrain publication of a story which it is alleged would have breached his right to privacy.  The application was made last Saturday 11 February 2012 to Mr Justice Lindblom.

The judgment does not of course contain any details of the allegedly private information.  The judge was satisfied that Jonathan Spelman had a reasonable expectation of privacy and he rejected the newspaper’s submission that this was a libel claim masquerading as a privacy claim such that injunctive relief would be inappropriate.  It is difficult to make much of the judge’s analysis of the public interest considerations since the judgment is understandably opaque, but he expressed himself satisfied that “the defendant’s publication of its story at this stage would not of itself advance the public interest claimed for it to a material degree”.

Mr Spelman, through his parents as litigation friends, sought an order that his identity should be kept secret.  That application was rejected by reference to the Master of the Rolls Practice Guidance: Interim Non-Disclosure Orders.

The matter is scheduled to return to court tomorrow, 16 February – listed before Mr Justice Tugendhat, Court 14 .  The Daily Star’s report of the ”gagging order” is here.

Keith Mathieson is a partner at media law firm RPC where he acts for a wide range of national and international newspapers, book and magazine publishers and other media companies.

This post was originally published on the RPC Privacy Blog and is reproduced with permission and thanks