A “super-injunction” is a term that has become quite recognizable to consumers of media law debates in the news and on blogs. It is not, nevertheless, a legal word of art, and this has caused a great deal of misunderstanding regarding what super-injunctions are and how many there are.
A super-injunction is a British legal document that forbids any information from a pending lawsuit from being published, such as the lawsuit’s existence.
A super-injunction is completely different from an injunction. Specifically, an injunction is a court order that prohibits or orders someone to do something, or in rare cases, to do something. Injunctions can be given after completion of trials or before as protection of an individual’s rights until the trial begins.
If a person is the subject of harmful allegations, their lawyers may file an appeal with the High Court. In order to preserve the client’s confidentiality, the court would issue the injunction on his or her account. The protections would be in effect until the lawsuit was tried and a judge ruled whether the content they claim, is confidential should be publicly disclosed.
Despite the application of the super-injunction, there are numerous instances where it has failed to work. For instance, former Manchester United footballer, Ryan Giggs filed for an injunction to prevent details of a supposed affair from leaking. Despite the injunction, a member of parliament used his parliamentary privilege to discuss the process.
In another similar case, John Terry filed for a super-injunction to protect the details of an affair. The injunction targeted news media but would later be shared by media houses that felt they hadn’t been served. In addition, the details were available on social media such as Twitter where the enforcement of such injunctions may not be effective. In a few days after the injunction, John Terry was a trending topic on Twitter, highlighting the ineffectiveness of the injunctions during the social media age.