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Friday, April 27, 2012

Death knell for the super-injunction?

In what must surely amount to a last hooray for the super-injunction the Telegraph reports that a review of Parliamentary privilege by the Government has concluded that MPs will not be barred from using Parliamentary privilege to breach super-injunctions:

Last year Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming was reprimanded by the Commons Speaker John Bercow for naming Ryan Giggs as the footballer at the centre of a gagging and “flouting” parliamentary privilege.

Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice also questioned “whether it’s a very good idea for our law makers to be flouting a court order just because they disagree with a court order, or for that matter, because they disagree with the law of privacy which Parliament has created”.

However in a new consultation on Parliamentary Privilege the Government said it was taking no action to tighten the rules, which date back to 1689.

It says: “The Government does not consider that it is necessary to make any changes to the protection of privilege in civil cases.

“To ensure freedom of speech in Parliament it is right that parliamentary proceedings cannot be relied upon to sue a Member of Parliament or a witness to a select committee.

"The Government also considers that no legislative changes are appropriate in relation to injunctions and super-injunctions where, on occasion, parliamentary privilege has been used to circumvent the injunction.”

This must surely make it more difficult for major corporations to hide behind these devices to prevent public knowledge of alleged wrong-doing. That has to be welcome.
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