Rise of the superinjunction: libel, privacy and press freedom under fire in the UK

Talk Tuesday 13th April, 2010

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It’s one of the world’s oldest surviving democracies, but just how free is the British media? Law firms can and do serve newsdesks with so-called superinjunctions banning all mention of their client or of the writ itself.

Lawyers acting for footballer John Terry and oil trader Trafigura both tried this tactic to stop unfavourable coverage – only for the facts to eventually trickle into the public domain.

Are these strong-arm tactics a threat to press freedom? Or simply an inevtiable response to the irresponsible, scandal-obsessed British newspapers? And more importantly, how can lawyers and judges expect to keep allegations secret when it only takes one person and a broadband connection to publish them around the world in seconds.

To debate this and more, the Frontline Club is delighted to welcome Guardian investigations editor David Leigh, Carter Ruck partner Nigel Tait, science writer Simon Singh and David Hooper, a media law specialist and partner at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain. The event is chaired by Clive Coleman, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action programme, and a former barrister.

Picture credit: Robert Sharp / English PEN via Flickr, some rights reserved.