No, says John Cooper QC from 25 Bedford Row: “it’s simply a development of the law”. Judges, he said at this morning’s Weber Shandwick debate at Gray’s Inn, are interpreting existing law: Articles 8 and 10 and Section 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998. If we have been sleepwalking, it’s been for a “very very long time”, he added.
He was joined on the panel (chaired by Jon McLeod, UK chairman corporate & public affairs, Weber Shandwick) by Graham Atkins, Atkins Thomson; Jo Glanville, editor, Index on Censorship and Joshua Rozenberg, journalist and legal commentator.
The panellists covered a number of other areas including libel reform, contempt, CFAs, phone hacking and media accuracy. My question concerned the public interest: how did the panel interpret the public mood on privacy and injunctions? (Even if the public interest isn’t necessarily defined by what the public is interested in, I think we should know what the public does think about privacy rights and what is in the public interest). Joshua Rozenberg agreed that research in this area needs to be done.
It’s an issue I wrote about yesterday over on the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism Blog following the methodologically disappointing ComRes poll for the Independent. Meanwhile, Inforrm has published my piece about publicity issues in the Court of Protection and family courts, which also fits into the super injunction debate. It features Lucy Series, legal researcher, and Lucy Reed, barrister, who raise some very interesting points about the role of the press when reporting CoP / family cases.