Former England manager's privacy trumped by freedom of speech


The managers of the English football team are always in the public eye, something which they do not always appreciate. The former England manager Steve McClaren has lost a bid in the high court to prevent The Sun from publishing a story about an alleged extramarital affair. (24 August 2012.)

Two former managers in the same boat

McClaren is alleged to have had an affair with a woman called Saima Ansari. McClaren's predecessor, Sven-Göran Eriksson, has also struggled with suspicions of an affair with the same woman in the public eye.

McClaren attempted to get an injunction granted, which would prevent the story from being published. Although the story was not published on the Sunday as The Sun had intended, the high court judge, Mr Justice Lindblom, nevertheless considered that an injunction was not called for. Linblom ruled that, in the case at hand, the public interest outweighed McClaren's right to privacy.

Gagging orders in general

Many celebrities, including Rio Ferdinand and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, have in recent years covered the headlines by having the courts impose so-called gagging orders preventing newspapers from publishing information that might have a negative impact on their private lives and images.

When considering an injunction that prevents information from reaching the public, the court has to balance freedom of speech with an individual's right to privacy. As such, each application will be considered on its own circumstances.

Previous decisions have clearly demonstrated that the courts' balancing act produces different results depending on the individual circumstances of the case. As such, sometimes an individual's right to privacy trumps the interest of the public in a story being published, but it is not unusual that it is the other way around.

The courts commonly take into account that individuals who choose to live life in the public eye have to be prepared for a certain degree of invasions in their private life.

If you'd like any information regarding injunctions we can put you in touch with an expert solicitor in your area, free of charge. Call us now on 0800 1777 162.

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