Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Super Injunction Definition:

An injunction obtained in a secret convening of the court where in the result, the court file, the names of the parties and even the terms of the injunction order are secret except as between the parties, counsel, the judge and the court staff.

In Terry v Persons Unknown, Justice Tugendhat of the English High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division had before him an application by a soccer star John Terry against the British media to ban them from reporting on his alleged relationship with a teammate's girlfriend. The media, including the News of the World had not received notice of the application for the super injunction.

In the result, the application for a super injunction was denied, Tugendhat relying on the principle of open justice adding:

"[I]t is not just open justice that is in issue: it is the right of a person affected by a court order, in particular a respondent, to be heard before the order is made.

"[E]xcept in cases where secrecy is essential, the applicant should take steps to notify the respondent informally of the application".

"Secrecy may be essential in the case of a respondent who, if tipped off, is likely to defeat the purposes of an application by publishing the material before he can be shown to have had notice of the injunction, or before it can be granted. It is less easy to show the need for such secrecy where the person targeted by the application is a national newspaper. There may be a need to work out ways to address the problems which arise in such cases, but giving privacy claimants comprehensive derogations from (the obligation to give notice to the proposed target of the injunction) cannot be the answer."

In their March 2010 article on topic, authors Gillihand and Hoult report on a successful super injunction granted to maritime transportation giant Trafigura Beheer BV:

"The (super) injunction prohibited the Guardian (Newspaper) and anyone having notice of the order from reporting on the contents of a leaked expert report commissioned by Trafigura on alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast."

A British judge, Justice Maddison, had previously issued the super injunction against the Guardian in regards to referencing the expert report.

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