Quaero Injunctions and the Inquiry
John Hemming MP, who is campaigning against excessive and unlawful court secrecy, has launched an inquiry in parliament into the growing numbers of gagging orders.
"I will be collecting a range of different gagging orders," he said, "and then analysing and sorting them into different categories. I will then produce a number of parliamentary petitions summarising the details and pass them to the Justice Select Committee for further investigation."
"What is clear," he said, "is that almost all of the super and hyper injunctions have no public judgment. That means that they are not compliant with the rules for a fair trial. There is also the question as to whether there should be an automatic time limit on an interim order. Many cases have an interim order and no final hearing. This is clearly wrong. We also need to know what the costs are both for the applicant and for the media in defending these orders. It is wrong to have a system whereby people can buy the sort of justice they want. That is a contravention of Clause 29 of Magna Carta 1297 (which is still in force)."
"A good example of an injunction that is handled properly is that relating to ZAM and CFW/TFW. This is accompanied by a published judgment. However, what is not in the published judgment is the amount of costs awarded although the fact of the awarding of costs is in the judgment. The judgment should reveal the amount of costs as well."
New type of injunction - the Quaeroinjunction
Mr Hemming has also revealed a new type of injunction against investigative journalism. "I have recently seen a gagging order that prevents people seeking information about a case from the parties. This goes a step further than preventing people speaking out against injustice. It also puts any investigative journalist at risk if they ask any questions of a victim of a potential miscarriage of justice.
"I call this the the Quaeroinjunction, after the latin work "to seek". I don't think this should be allowed in English courts. It has the effect of preventing journalists from speaking to people subject to this injunction without a risk of the journalist going to jail. That is a recipe for hiding miscarriages of justice."
"Anyone who has a gagging injunction that they would like to go into this proceeding in parliament should post it to me at John Hemming MP, House of Commons, London SW1 0AA."
Notes for EditorsMagna Carta Clause 29 is hereArticle 6 ECHR is here