Senior lawyer takes out injunction to cover up affair
Emily Dugan is social affairs correspondent for The Independent, i and Independent on Sunday. She was previously a news reporter for The Independent on Sunday. Her investigations into human trafficking have twice been awarded Best Investigative Article at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards and her human rights journalism was shortlisted for the Gaby Rado Memorial prize at the 2012 Amnesty Media Awards.
Social Affairs Correspondent
Thursday 04 July 2013
A senior lawyer has taken out a gagging order typically reserved for philandering footballers to cover up details of his affair with a younger woman.
Referred to simply as an “elderly solicitor,” the man has been granted an injunction to prevent a younger woman he had an affair with from publishing allegedly private information about their lives.
The case, known as AVB vs TDD, was decided by Britain’s most senior libel judge, Justice Tugendhat at the end of last month, though the judgement has only recently been published online.
Justice Tugendhat said in the judgement: “I granted an injunction to restrain the publication of information alleged to be private and confidential, and of information which was liable to or might identify the Claimant or the Defendant as a party to the proceedings. The information concerned the personal relationship that had existed between them, and communications to and about family members.”
Index on Censorship chief executive, Kirsty Hughes, said: “Injunctions should not be used by the rich and powerful to prevent facts becoming public if there is a public interest. When awarding injunctions, Judges must also take into account freedom of expression and the right to know and not just individuals’ right to privacy.”
Justifying his decision not to give notice to the young woman before granting the injunction, Justice Tugendhat wrote: “I granted the application without notice because communications had taken place between the parties, and it appeared from the response of the Defendant that, if the Claimant gave notice, there was a risk that the purpose of the proceedings might be defeated.”
Media lawyer, Mark Stephens, said privacy injunctions such as these were giving people the chance of a “morality bypass” by preventing details of their affairs being known. “The courts are effectively giving a morality bypass to feckless men who can’t keep it in their trousers and are rich enough to afford lawyers,” he said.
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