Lord Neuberger - Master of the Rolls

Lord Neuberger, Master of the Rolls

Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA

Details on the number of superinjunctions applied for, granted and appealed are to be published as part of a new pilot scheme launched today (1 August).

In guidance issued today, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, outlines what details about non-disclosure orders, which refers to superinjunctions and anonymised injunctions, are to be collected as part of the new scheme

The move follows growing concern in the press and from politicians about a lack of public awareness of such orders, and the impact of the internet on them remaining secret.

In May prime minister David Cameron called for a joint parliamentary committee to be set up to consider improvements to the law in relation to privacy injunctions, to find the correct balance between privacy and freedom of expression.

In the same month, a separate committee led by the Master of the Rolls offered its recommendations on the issue, advising that the media be informed in advance of applications for injunctions and superinjunctions.

The committee also recommended that data on such orders be collected and published.

The practice directions launched today detail the procedure for the pilot scheme intended to fulfil this recommendation.

"The practice direction establishes a procedure through which Ministry of Justice's chief statistician is notified of such orders in order for statistical data to be analysed and then published," an announcement said.

"The purpose of the scheme is to enable the Ministry of Justice to collate and publish, in anonymised form, information about applications for injunctions where section 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998 is engaged."

Under the pilot scheme, a judge will record a series of details following the hearing of an application for a non-disclosure injunction, any appeal against the grant or refusal of any such injunction.

Individual – male
Individual – female
Company or other organisation
More than one claimant / applicant / appellant

The details will include the claim or application number, whether the applicant is an individual (male or female), company or group, what the hearing was an application for and whether the parties consented to the order.

Under the new scheme, "subject to any express direction to the contrary in the order", any order made by the court will now be deemed to include a provision which gives permission to a court officer to transmit the information to the chief statistician in the Ministry of Justice.

The data will then be analysed and "published in such form as does not enable the public identification of the parties to any proceedings".

The pilot scheme will operate from today until 31 July 2012.

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