On 15 March 2012 the Ministry of Justice Published its first statistical report on privacy injunctions, covering the period August to December 2011.  The report showed that only 4 new privacy injunctions were granted during this 5 month period.  None involved the media. In addition, there were 3 hearings for the continuation or variation of interim injunctions.

Some more detail can be found in the Tables attached to the report.  Table 1 tells us that of the 4 applications for new injunctions, one was brought by a male applicant and three by female applicants, one application was on notice and three without notice.  One of the four applications was made by consent.  All applications made were successful.  Only one injunction contained a “super-injunction” provisions.  Three of the four hearings were in private, anonymity was granted in all four cases.

Although public judgments are now given in privacy cases, the Report does not identify the cases to which reference is made.  It appears that the 4 applications were as follows:

QWE v SDF & Ors [2011] EWHC 3121 (QB) – A without notice application by a male applicant.

STU v UVW & Anor [2011] EWHC 3133 (QB) – This was dealt with by consent and on notice.

AB v Barristers Benevolent Association Ltd [2011] EWHC 3413 (QB) – A without notice application by a female applicant.  The injunction originally included a “super-injunction” provision which was discharged (along withe the whole injunction) on the return date.

AMP v Persons Unknown [2011] EWHC 3454 (TCC) – A without notice application by a female applicant.

As we mentioned, it is noteworthy that none of these cases appear to have involved threatened media publication – no media defendants were joined.  The “Leveson privacy truce” was appears to have been effective in the second half of 2011.

In relation to the three “continuation applications”, two were by males and one by a female.  All were on notice and all involved continuation or variation, one by consent.  It is said that two of the hearings concerned the continuation or variation of interim injunctions initially granted prior to statistics being collected.

These cases are somewhat harder to identify as the numbers don’t quite add up.  There were “return dates” in the cases of AB (where the injunction was discharged) and QWE (where it was continued).  Neither of these were injunctions granted prior to August 2011 and it appears, therefore, at at least one of them has not been included in the statistics.  We have not been able to identify the two “continuation and variation” applications dating from before August 2011.  We would be grateful if our readers were able to assist on this point.

The Report also mentions two “final injunctions” being granted in cases in which interim injunctions had been granted prior to August 2011.  It is, again, not entirely clear which cases the compilers of the report have in mind.

We have noted two possible candidates.  First, a final injunction to restrain the publication of confidential information was granted in Commissioner of Police v Times Newspapers [2011] EWHC 2705 (QB) – the original injunction having been granted in January 2011.   Second, a final privacy injunction was also granted in the case of Cooper & Anor v Turrell [2011] EWHC 3269 (QB) when interim orders were made prior to August 2011.

Finally, the Report mentions one appeal against the grant of a privacy injunction which resulted in the injunction being discharged.  Once again, it is not entirely clear which case is being referred to.  It may be that the reference is to Hutcheson v Popdog [2011] EWCA Civ 1580 – although the temporary injunction in that case was discharged at the conclusion of the hearing on 25 May 2011 (see [2011] EWCA Civ 808).  Another possibility is Ferdinand v MGN – where the appeal was disposed of by consent on 18 December 2011 – although there was no injunction in place in that case either.

This report is an interesting innovation.  The MoJ has indicated that it welcomes feedback on the statistics.  We suggest that more detail be given about the individual cases and, insofar as they are the subject of public judgments, these should be identified.