Attorney General may ‘take action’ if anonymity orders are broken

The Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC has issued a warning to Twitter followers who break anonymised court orders.

Dominic Grieve
Dominic Grieve

Speaking to Radio 4’s Law in Action programme, Grieve said individuals could be prosecuted for breaching court awarded anonymity orders.

He said: “I’ll take action if I think that my intervention is necessary in the public interest, to maintain the rule of law, proportionate and will achieve an end of upholding the rule of law. It’s not something, however, I particularly want to do.”

Last month the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge said modern technology should not be used to break court ordered injunctions.

He said: “”I’m not giving up on the possibility that people who peddle lies about others through using technology may one day be brought under control, maybe through damages, very substantial damages, maybe even injunctions to stop them peddling lies.”

This came after anonymous Twitter users revealed the identities of individuals who had allegedly secured an injunction.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, of Matrix Chambers, who has represented several high-profile individuals in their bid to gain court ordered privacy, echoed the sentiments of the attorney general.

Speaking to The Lawyer, Tomlinson said: “If the judges get it wrong the Court of Appeal’s there to put it right. If Twitter starts to become the Court of Appeal it would cause severe damage to the administration of justice.”

The Attorney General also said action would be brought against newspapers that give too much information about a subject who has been granted an anonymised order.

In May, Mr Justice Tugendhat turned down an attempt by the woman alleged to have had an affair with former RBS boss Fred Goodwin to have the Daily Mail referred to the Attorney General on the grounds that it breach a court order (27 May 2011).