Article from North East Times

The recent media storm over “super-injunctions” shows the extreme efforts of some celebrities to keep details of their private lives out of the public eye. The controversy came about when various tabloids published stories about anonymous celebrities that were deliberately meant to flout what are known as “Super-injunctions”, effectively gagging orders, where the celebrity claimant could not be named and omitting details that could not legally be published. However, users of non-UK hosted websites, including Twitter began to name and shame as did foreign press, raising many questions about the freedom of the press, human rights and especially the right to privacy.

This right to privacy is of course not just an issue for the uber rich and famous. When contemplating or dealing with divorce it is understandable to be concerned about what information will be shared as part of the divorce process, both with your spouse and the wider public.

Many clients want to protect their children from any potential harm and ensure their business assets are not prejudiced, by disclosure of such information. They should also be fully informed about sharing their ‘private’ information with their spouse. In dealing with financial matters there is a duty to disclose all financial details to the other party. Yet recent case law shows that the courts value confidentiality, particularly how information is obtained.

Take the celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, who at the end of May won an apology from his wife’s solicitors, Withers, on just this point. His wife seized his post within their divorce, to his financial detriment. The Court of Appeal has clarified that the advice from his wife’s Solicitor was wrong and gave important new guidance in White and Withers [2009] and Imerman v Tchenguiz [2010]. We can advise you about this in full should you require further information.

Family proceedings are essentially private and it was only in April 2009 when new rules permitted the media limited access to report about family cases with the court’s permission. This step followed calls to end their perceived secrecy.

Whilst reporting is rare, in the case of Lykiardopulo v Lykiardopulo [2010] the Court of Appeal did order publication to penalise a Husband, who had conspired to create false documents to hide his true worth.

In a world obsessed with sharing information and new methods of communication, private life is still precious. It should be protected especially in a time of crisis such as marital breakdown, and only shared with consideration.

As specialist family lawyers MFL will advise you on how to correctly protect all you hold most sacred.