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    Tuesday, 1 May 2007

    Browne judgments available on BAILII database

    Todays High Court and Court of Appeal judgments in the privacy case of Browne v Associated Newspapers Ltd are available on the BAILII database ([2007] EWHC 202 (QB) and [2007] EWCA Civ 295 respectively). They were published today after the House of Lords refused leave to appeal. The Mail on Sunday has wasted no time in detailing the saga on its webpages. It has also published a full statement in response to that published by Lord Browne (which also appears on the newspaper's site). Unsurprisingly, the story is also discussed widely in the MSM (eg. 1,2,3,4), and elsewhere.

    The case concerned the attempt by Lord Browne - the erstwhile Chief Executive of BP - to sustain an injunction to preempt the intended publication of a series of revelations offered to the MoS by his former boyfriend. On one telling, the issues transmuted from being a 'boring story about misuse of company funds' (albeit one that the MoS insists involved "issues of great importance to shareholders and employers (-ees?) of BP") to a 'warts-an'-all' expose after the peer was 'economical with the actualite' of how he and his partner had met.

    This duplicity before the court has now been used to justify the telling of the full story. It has also offered the Mail on Sunday an opportunity to highlight what it considers to be "deeply worrying questions about the system of secret court hearings which is increasingly being used by the rich and powerful to prevent the public knowing the truth about their activities". It perceives "a matter of great concern that such hearings are being used to create a privacy law, made by judges sitting alone and in secret, without reference to Parliament". It also hopes to see Lord Browne prosecuted for perjury on account of what the High Court judge disparagingly labelled Browne's "white lie". From excerpts quoted in various places, it seems the judges may have offered a few choice words - I'll extract and post any important or otherwise notable aspects of the judgments anon.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    The High Court judgment was met with some derision in the Press - see Stephen Glover in The Independent Judges' decisions need careful scrutiny to protect a free Press

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