Sunday, 3 April 2011

Hyperinjunctions - because not talking about something makes it disappear

As explained in the Telegraph - our wonderful legal system has a new concept - the hyperinjunction - not the superinjunction where a story can not only not be reported but also the fact that there is an injunction cannot be reported either - this is the next step:
...John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP, disclosed details of one on the floor of the Commons last week.

The hyper-injunction goes a step further. Mr Hemming told the Commons that the order, which was obtained at the High Court in 2006, prevents an individual from saying that paint used in water tanks on passenger ships could break down and release potentially toxic chemicals.
It specifically bars the person from discussing the case with "members of Parliament, journalists and lawyers", along with the US coastguard and any ship owners, and also forbids any speculation linking chemicals in the paint with the illness of any individuals.
It says: "The defendant must not communicate to the third parties any speculation that the illness of any individual (including without limitation the collapse of H) was, has been or will be brought out by the chemical composition or the chemicals present in the coating of the potable water tanks." 
According to Mr Hemming, the individual was given a two-week suspended sentence after talking to a lawyer about whether he would take up the case on a no-win, no-fee basis. Mr Hemming said: "What we have, therefore, is passenger vessels trundling around the world with potentially toxic substances being released into the tanks. One of those who worked on the tanks collapsed as a result. 
Now it may well not be true a true allegation about the paint - but I'm not sure that judges are the ones who should be quashing these things without any public scrutiny - and they certainly shouldn't be able to prevent people getting legal advice after they're granted.

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