John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Monday, April 18, 2011
  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."

ENDS

Notes for Editors
Magna Carta Clause 29 is here

Article 6 ECHR is here
 
Comments:
Dear John

I'd love to know what other kinds of 'gagging orders' you've come across. I can only contribute an "Injunction Order" from the lawyer of the City and County of Swansea and a "Reporting Restriction Order" from the Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council.

Listed as "Third Defendant" I fall under "The Media" and "The Media & Others".

I understand that both documents are not lawful, as they were NOT served by Court and not signed by a Judge.

BEST OF LUCK with the Justice Committee!
 
Dear John

I am trying to obtain copies of appeals in Scotland.
We are simply told cases are "unreported" even though they are all tape recorded.
People who have won appeals in Criminal Cases are being denied access to their own judgements.
Perhaps you could include Scotland in your investigations into this widespread concealment of cases by our courts.
I can supply recent letters from our Lord President basically saying opinions should be made.
Lord Hamilton says this to my MSP Bill Kidd:
Whether to give an opinion i.s a matter tor the
Bench concerned taking into account all relevant circumstances. As a matter
of general policy I can say that it is my expectation that an opinion, however
brief, should be given in any appeal against conviction or sentence.
 
There is another aspect that has gone unreported. There have been discussions on various websites concerning identity of people who have been able to get these gagging orders. Various names are mentioned, the pros and cons as to whether they are the person in question. The point is that a number of innocent people are having their name dragged through the mud until, possibly, some consensus is reached. The internet has totally changed how such injunctions may be enforced and I don't think Mr Justice Eady has realised that. Apart from the damage mentioned above, I really don't think that Google will give a toss about a ruling from a British court.
 
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