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The end for superinjunctions? Media to be allowed to attend hearings

Reporters could be allowed into a court room when an injunction is being granted. However, they are likely to still be restricted in what they can reveal.

A judge in the UK has lifted a gagging order obtained by former RBS boss Fred Goodwin, after the injuction was revealed in parliament
A judge in the UK has lifted a gagging order obtained by former RBS boss Fred Goodwin, after the injuction was revealed in parliament
Image: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE CULTURE OF super-secret superinjunctions could be on the way out if a top judge in the UK has his way.

The BBC reports on an investigation by Lord Neuberger is due out later today which is expected to recommend that the media be allowed to attend hearings where injunctions and super-injunctions are being sought. Neuberger has been at the helm of a year-long inquiry into the matter.

Allowing the media to be present when such 0rders are being sought may seem redundant, but it’s likely that they will still be restricted in what they can report. Essentially the move would make the media privy to the inform they’re being ordered to keep secret. It’s thought that it might reduce the amount of speculative reporting. However it may also make challenges to injunctions by the media more prevalent.

Injunctions and gagging orders are becoming increasingly difficult to enforce. Last week UK courts issued an injunction banning a certain case from being mentioned on Twitter, thought to be a response to an anonymous Twitter account which had outed a number of celebrities who were believed to have sought superinjunctions.

The news comes as the debate rages in the UK about how far privacy can be taken. Former boss of the Royal Bank of Scotland Fred Goodwin saw his injunction – which prevented reporting on an affair with a colleague – made public when it was mentioned in a parliamentary speech, which was in turn reported in the media after a judge lifted the gagging order. It raises a question as to whether an injunction can be granted if the information is of public interest, as in the case of the running of an institution like the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Read more from the BBC: Media concession expected in injunction report>

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Emer McLysaght

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